October 12, 2020

Dear LWSD Staff and Families,

As we continue to move through our processes to plan for in-person instruction, it has always been with the knowledge that our health and safety criteria would be one part of the decision. Late in July, I indicated that we would rely on local and state public health agencies to help guide our response to COVID-19. The Washington State Department of Health has outlined the rates of COVID in relation to educational settings and athletic/activity participation.

Key Messages:

  • COVID-19 rates increased in King County and locally.
  • Lake Washington is designated as a High-Risk District per Washington Department of Health Decision Tree.
  • High-Risk categorization causes the District to pause implementation but not pause planning efforts.
  • 25% of K-1 teachers indicate they require placement in a remote environment.

Current Health and Safety Data:
Late last week, King County Public Health indicated that the rates of COVID-19 were such that our District is now listed as a High-Risk District.

King County Public Health Data:
Transmission Rate:
King County Public Health targets a transmission rate less than 1.0 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • Current transmission rate in King County is at 1.6.

Cases per 100,000 residents:
King County Public Health targets cases per 100,000 to be under 25. The Decision Tree places districts in the high-risk category when they have cases over75 per 100,000 residents over the last 14 days.

  • Currently, King County has 86 cases per 100,000 residents over the last 14 days (reported 10/12/20). Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish and Union Hill have continued to see increases in cases over that same period. 

Washington State Department of Health Decision Tree Information:

COVID-19 activity levels

High-Risk categorization causes the District to pause implementation but not pause planning efforts:

It is important to note that the new case rate data will require us to pause on our implementation of in-person learning for additional students. This does not mean that the work to prepare for the transition will stop. We will finalize our work with the Lake Washington Education Association (LWEA) regarding working conditions for instructional staff and the Return to School Task Force work groups will finalize their tasks in preparation for in-person implementation.

Next week I will provide information about what the transition will look like when we do determine a date for students to return. This transition will provide a timeline for transition, training, and implementation, taking into account staff, student, and family needs to realign schedules and work.

We will continue to partner with King County Public Health regarding our effort to return students to in-person learning. When the transmission rate and case rates are such that we are in the Moderate-Risk category, we will target a timeline for returning to in-person learning.

I want to thank our staff and families for their support of our efforts as we work through these challenges.


Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District