Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance & Resources
OSPI is committed to providing ongoing guidance and resources for school districts, as well as resources for students and families as appropriate, as we navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our students, school employees, families, and communities. The most current guidance and resources are provided below.
For School Districts
On January 7, 2022, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal laid out the state of Washington’s K–12 public education system, as well as his vision for transforming the last two years of high school. The address was the first of what will be an annual update on Washington’s K–12 schools from the Superintendent. View materials from the address:
- View a recording of the address
- View the Superintendent's visual presentation from the address
- Read the one-page overview with highlights from the address
- Read the one-pager on Class of 2021 graduation rates
- Read the one-pager on Fall 2021 assessment data
- District-level assessment data is available in the OSPI Data Portal.
As part of a safe and healthy reopening and our ability to provide continued in-person learning without major COVID-related disruptions, on August 18, Governor Inslee announced a new requirement for all K–12 school employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain a religious or medical exemption by October 18, 2021.
See more information about the requirement:
- School Employee Vaccination Data
- FAQ: COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for School Employees (Updated 9/3/21)
- Proclamation by the Governor 21-14.2
- Optional Template for School Districts: Medical Accommodation Request Form
- Optional Template for School Districts: Religious Accommodation Request Form
- Guidance for School Districts on Evaluating Religious Accommodation Requests
- Governor Inslee Press Conference (Live on 8/18/21)
Health & Safety Requirements & Guidance
Schools are required, by order of the Governor, to follow the following health and safety guidance:
- Requirements and Guidance to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission in K-12 Schools, Child Care, Early Learning, Youth Development, and Day Camp Programs (Department of Health)
- Requirements and Guidance for Preventing COVID-19 (Department of Labor & Industries)
In addition to the required schools' guidance, DOH has published a supplemental guidance document with considerations for schools in reducing virus transmission. Schools are not required to follow the strategies included in the guidance.
- Letter to Superintendents: Addressing Food & Labor Shortages (Sent September 24, 2021)
- Additional Continuous Learning 2.0+ Guidance, which outlines requirements and recommendations for schools to continue serving students during quarantine (Published September 22, 2021)
- Options for Instructional Funding Models in 2021–22 (Published May 21, 2021)
- Requirements and Guidance to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission in K-12 Schools, Child Care, Early Learning, Youth Development, and Day Camp Programs
- COVID-19 Outbreaks in K–12 Schools Report (updated monthly)
- Supplemental Considerations to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission in K–12 Schools (updated regularly)
- "Learn to Return" COVID School Testing Website
- "Learn to Return" COVID Testing Playbook (published February 16, 2021)
The most current guidance and resources related to funding are available on OSPI's COVID-19 State & Federal Funding webpage.
The most current guidance and resources related to supporting students receiving special education services during the pandemic are available on OSPI’s COVID-19 Special Education Guidance webpage.
As schools bring students back this fall, child care and youth development programs, like before and after school care, tutoring/mentoring, and wrap-around services, will be an important part of the support system families rely on. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these programs have offered academic and social-emotional support; access to computers and Wi-Fi; provided meals and snacks; connected students and families to financial, health, and other resources for families.
Increased collaboration and communication between schools and child/youth-serving community-based providers will be important for maintaining safety and continuity for children between school and programs, especially if there are instances of COVID-19 exposure. Working together in the months and years ahead will also help ensure that the child/youth-serving sector can continue to thrive so that families have access to the programs they need. As the pandemic continues, many programs are facing staffing and funding challenges due to fluctuating enrollment.
Schools can take steps to support students and families by engaging with local child care and youth development programs to ensure good communication channels are in place; especially around children who are served in common. Below are some easy ways to help families and communities manage back to school as successfully as possible:
- Identify someone in the district as a point person between child care and youth development programs and share the contact information with those programs.
- Prioritize referrals to existing programs before standing up additional childcare options.
- Plan for sharing information about known exposures between school and child care settings serving the same children, when possible, especially if the child care program regularly transports the child to school, or the school transports the child between care and school. Check with appropriate legal counsel when establishing information-sharing agreements.
- Communicate changes in the school’s schedule/practices directly to child care and youth development programs to allow time to make adjustments to support families as needed.
- Connect with licensed child care providers in your area by contacting Child Care Aware.
- Visit School’s Out Washington’s Open Programs & School Age Childcare Map.
- Include child care and youth development programs in family-facing communications where appropriate. For instance, if the district sends regular updates to families via email, send to providers as well. If you need a list of child care providers. please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Encourage staff and families to sign up for WA Notify (also known as Washington Exposure Notifications), a free tool that works on smartphones to alert users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 without sharing any personal information.
- Direct families needing child care to the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center website or to call
- Direct families needing assistance with paying for child care to Working Connections Child Care.
- Be open to creative ways to continue or begin sharing dedicated space with child care and youth development programs, including the use of classrooms, the gym, multipurpose room, cafeteria/kitchen, outdoor/grounds, and entry ways.
COVID-19 is not at all connected to race, ethnicity, or nationality. School staff should be mindful that bullying, intimidation, or harassment of students based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, or disability (including the actual disability of being infected with COVID-19 or perception of being infected) may result in a violation of state and federal civil rights laws. School districts must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate what occurred when responding to reports of bullying or harassment. If parents and families believe their child has experienced bullying, harassment, or intimidation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, they should contact their school district’s designated civil rights compliance coordinator.
The U.S. Department of Education has also released guidance on addressing the risk of COVID-19 in schools while protecting the civil rights of students.
For Students & Families
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is now offering eligible households high-speed internet (100Mbps download) for $30 a month with no additional out-of-pocket costs.
There are 3 ways families can qualify:
- Income of 200% or less than the federal poverty guidelines
- Program participation (such as Free Reduced Lunch Program eligible, or SNAP, etc.), or
- Meeting the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income internet program
What families need to know about this new ACP opportunity:
For those that meet the eligibility requirements:
- $30 guaranteed plan download speed of 100 Mbps
- 20 providers to choose from
- New or existing internet plans
- 3 ways to qualify
For more information, please see the Educational Technology Federal Programs webpage.
Support for Multilingual Families
Learn more about parents' rights to translation and interpretation services, and family access to remote or distance learning activities. In addition to technology access, multilingual families may also need navigation support with accessing child care, early learning programs, nutrition, and financial assistance, and mental health and other health services.
Get step-by-step instructions on how to use 5 different teaching platforms.
- Canvas—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
- Class Dojo—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
- Google Classroom—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
- SeeSaw—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
- Zoom—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
Many students, educators, and their families may need additional support because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources on this page are intended to support school districts, schools, students, parents, and families in recognizing and responding to signs of emotional and behavioral distress.
In response to school closures in spring 2020 due to COVID-19, OSPI content experts curated a selection of links to external organizations providing high-quality online educational materials – courses, lessons, videos, physical and outdoor activity suggestions, etc. Please note that in many cases, these resources are free to use online but are not openly licensed for wide-scale reuse and adaptation. These resources were carefully chosen for their alignment to Washington State K–12 Learning Standards (or a recognized equivalent) and/or direct experience with effective implementation with students.
This publication is a companion resource to the OSPI’s prior Reopening Washington Schools 2020 District Planning Guide, issued June 2020. The Family Engagement document provides guidance and strategies for building strong family, school, district, and community partnerships, and identifies resources to build and strengthen connections across these groups. You will find key questions, suggested actions, and resources for five categories of building successful Family engagement.
Videos of Superintendent Reykdal - COVID-19 Updates
- Media Availability: Supt. Reykdal on School Employee Vaccination Data (Live on 10/28/21)
- Media Availability: Supt. Reykdal on School Employee Vaccination Request (Live on 8/13/21)
- Letter to Gov. Inslee: School Employee Vaccination Request (Published 8/12/21)
- Supt. Reykdal on Masks, Vaccines, and Fall 2021 (Published 8/6/21)
- Supt. Reykdal on Plans for Fall 2021 (Published 5/13/21)
- Media Availability: Kaiser Permanente and OSPI Announce Partnership to Vaccinate School Employees (Live on 1/29/21)
- Press Conference: Governor Inslee and Superintendent Reykdal Announce New Guidance for Schools (Live on 12/16/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Discusses Fall Reopenings Amid the Current COVID Landscape (Published 7/22/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Answers Questions from the Public About Going Back to School in the Fall (Published 6/20/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Discusses Fall Reopening & Thanks Educators, Parents, and Students (Published 6/14/20)
- Press Conference: Superintendent Reykdal Announces Fall Guidance for Reopening Schools (Live on 6/11/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Explores Health Models & Discusses Fall Reopening Workgroup (Published 5/25/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Explains Student Learning & Grading Policy (Published 4/21/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Addresses Grading & Supports for Students with Disabilities During School Building Closures (Published 4/17/20)
- Educator Q&A with Supt. Reykdal During COVID-19 School Building Closures (Published 4/9/20)
- Q&A with Supt. Reykdal During COVID-19 School Building Closures (Published 4/3/20)
- A Message from Supt. Reykdal During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Published 3/27/20)
- Emergency Absence Rule - (Effective November 9, 2020)
- October 16: School Reopening Data Dashboard
- September 30: Employer Health & Safety Requirements for School Scenarios (produced by OSPI, Department of Health, Department of Labor & Industries, local district superintendents, and school labor representatives)
- September 30: Preparing for or Expanding In-Person Instruction & Services
- August 31: 2020–21 School Year Student Discipline Q&A (Publication)
- August 26: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: School Nutrition Programs, Appendix A - Menu Builder Tool
- August 25: Guidance on Vaccine Requirements During COVID-19 (produced by the Department of Health and OSPI)
- August 24: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Dual Credit and Postsecondary Planning
- August 21: Clarifying Options to Claim Alternative Learning Experience Enrollment Funding in 2020–21
- August 20: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Supporting Multilingual/English Learners (updated 10/29/20)
- August 20: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Supporting Migrant Students Under Title I, Part C
- August 17: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: District Early Learning Planning Guide
- August 13: Emergency Rulemaking - Definition of Absence (Bulletin 064-20)
- Attendance and Truancy: Q&A for School Districts (Published 8/26/20)
- Side-by-Side Comparison of Emergency and Permanent Rule (Published 8/13/20)
- Definition of absence – OSPI rules (filed 8/13/20)
- August 13: 2020–21 Implementation of WaKIDS (Bulletin 062-20)
- August 7: Teacher & Principal Evaluation Guidance for 2020–21
- July 31: School Nutrition Programs Guide to Returning to School
- July 30: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Special Education Guidance
- July 16: Washington Schools 2020 Reopening Plan Template
- June 24: Questions & Answers (Q&A) about fall reopening guidance
- June 11: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: District Planning Guide
- May 27: K–4 Expectations During Long-term School Closures (Bulletin 037-20)
- April 27: Supporting English Learners During School Facility Closures (Publication)
- April 27: Supporting Migrant Students During School Facility Closures (Publication)
- April 21: Student Learning & Grading Guidance (Publication)
- April 15: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #7 (Bulletin 032-20)
- April 8: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #6 (Bulletin 031-20)
- April 6: Continuous Learning 2020 (Publication)
- March 23: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #5 (Bulletin 025-20)
- March 23: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #4 (Bulletin 024-20)
- March 20: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #3 (Bulletin 022-20)
- March 18: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #2 (Bulletin 021-20)
- March 17: Letter to Superintendents and Labor Leaders
- March 13: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #1 (Bulletin 019-20)
- March 6: COVID-19 Guidance on Online Learning, Waivers, and School Closures (Bulletin 016-20)
- March 3: Further COVID-19 Guidance (Bulletin 014-20)
- February 28: Preparation for Possible COVID-19 Outbreak in Washington State (Bulletin 013-20)
- February 26: Letter to Superintendents