April 20, 2021

Dear LWSD Staff & Families: 

Throughout the 2020-21 school year we have worked to support all our students. Yesterday, we welcomed over 55% of our secondary students back to in-person learning. Secondary students learning in-person attend school 4-days per week.  

We are so pleased that we were able to maintain schedules and teacher assignments for the vast majority of our secondary students (both in-person and remote). We believe this connection will be essential as they move into this next phase of the school year.   

Secondary educators will teach both in-person and remote students for the remainder of the school year. This is a new teaching method for our staff, and they spent time in professional learning and collaboration with colleagues during the transition week. Our elementary students who are learning in-person also experienced a shift. All elementary students shifted to a 4-day per week schedule and the school day was extended to match with our secondary school day schedule to ensure bus transportation availability.  

Following are the next steps in our Pathway Forward. 

At last night’s School Board Meeting, I presented our latest Pathway Forward update. This included information about Spring 2021 COVID evaluation and distancing decisions that will be in place for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. I also shared about planning for Fall 2021, including a basic timeline and considerations for other learning options.  

Full Board Meeting, including School Board Discussion:

Content in the Video Presentation:

  • Spring 2021 COVID Evaluation and Distancing Decisions 
  • COVID Evaluation and LWSD Response 
  • Fall 2021 Planning Timeline 
  • Other learning options for students – Fall 2021 

Spring 2021 COVID Evaluation and Distancing Decisions
As a reminder, the Department of Health guidance recommends that: 

  • Elementary students are distanced at least three feet in classrooms, regardless of community transmission levels. 
  • Secondary students (middle and high school students) are distanced at least three feet apart in classrooms when community transmission is lower.  
  • When community transmission is over 200 cases per 100,000 and cohorting is not possible, middle and high school students should be at least six feet apart in classroom settings. 
  • All levels are required to maintain six feet of distancing during lunch and while eating.  
  • Distancing between “adults and other adults” or “adults and students” remains six feet. 

COVID Evaluation and LWSD Response: 
A number of factors that go into evaluating our case rate response: 

  1. Overall county cases per 100,000 residents 
  2. Overall community cases per 100,000 residents 
  3. Test positivity at the county and community level 
  4. Evaluation of spread within our schools. 

A comprehensive analysis of all these factors will be considered in evaluating the health and safety factors related to COVID-19 guidance and LWSD’s implementation of the secondary learning model. 

County/LWSD Reported Region Data as of 4/19: 

County Cases per 100,000
over 14 days
Test Positivity Rate
King 199 4.4%
LWSD Reported Region Cases per 100,000
over 14 days
Test Positivity Rate
Kirkland 144 6.2%
Redmond 130 4.9%
Sammamish 89 4.0%
Union Hill 109 5.2%

Potential responses

  • Elementary schools: 
    • It is recommended that elementary schools remain at 3-foot distancing regardless of community transmission 
  • Secondary schools: 
    • Maintain 4-day per week schedule; or 
    • Shift to hybrid (2-day per week schedule) 

COVID Evaluation and LWSD Response

  • LWSD will set Benchmark Dates for COVID Evaluation: case rates, test positivity and potential response. 
  • If a change is required, we will notify staff and families prior to a shift. 
  • King County Public Health may require a school or district to change due to community spread of the virus. 
Benchmark Dates for LWSD COVID Evaluation
April 23 May 7 May 21 June 4
Benchmark Dates if Learning Model Change is Needed:
April 29 May 13 May 27 June 10

Fall 2021 Planning Timeline

  • March – Analyzing - system analysis of 3-foot classroom distancing. 
  • April – Planning - review current learning models; determine 3-foot distancing impacts, legislative/OSPI requirements, strategic planning process. 
  • May/June – Communicating - final models/options; preference/option survey if needed; bargain working conditions if needed; community updates; stakeholder survey 
  • July/August – Finalizing - schedules, plans, and services; staff training; community updates 
  • September – Implementing - return to school

Other learning options for students – Fall 2021

  • Online school – currently being planned for grades 9 and 10. Will be opened as a new school. Falls under the Alternative Learning Experiences (ALE) Rules. Continuing to evaluate program for best implementation. Learn more about this program here: https://www.lwsd.org/schools/online-school-opening-2021-22.
  • Remote Learning – Rules established by the State Board of Education and written into the Washington Administrative Code (WAC 180.16.200). 2020-21 remote learning was allowable under “emergency rules”; governor required remote learning as an option for families this spring; LWSD will not receive information about whether Remote Learning can be offered or will be required until later this spring or summer. 

We’ll continue to evaluate potential remote models. If allowed, the district believes a “remote school” will be needed to accommodate students; however, students may not be connected with their neighborhood school due to staffing implications. 

Additional Information Not Part of the Board Presentation

State Testing Update - Smarter Balanced Assessment and Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science moved to Fall 
Students in grades 3-8 and 10 typically take state assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics each spring.  Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 take a state assessment in science.  OSPI has made the decision to not administer the Smarter Balanced Assessments or the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science this spring. Instead, they are moving the testing window to fall 2021. The full press release from OSPI is available here.

The annual assessment (ELPA21 or WIDA) for students that qualify for English language development services is still being administered this spring. Additionally, students who have an IEP that designates the alternate state assessment (WA-AIM) will continue that process. 

Bus Ridership 
We have started to receive a number of questions about our bus capacity. Now that all schools are back in person, and as more students transition to in-person learning, buses are becoming full.  Unfortunately, we have a limited number of bus drivers. As students continue to choose to ride the bus, it may not be possible to seat students one per seat. If students need to share seats, they should always remain seated and facing forward. All windows at the front and rear of the bus and all roof hatches will be open (weather permitting) to maintain proper ventilation and to create a circulation of air flow – students should dress appropriately for the bus ride. High-frequency touch points are cleaned between routes and buses are cleaned at the end of each school day. 

Thank you,  


Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent 
Lake Washington School District