Dear Methow Valley Students and Parents,
Thankful for the exceptional healthcare services provided by the Center for Disease Control, Washington State Health Department, and Okanogan County Health Department, we continue to monitor updates about the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
While it’s our understanding that at present, the immediate risk to the general public residing in the U.S., Washington, and Okanogan County is reported to be low, we are taking the threat seriously. The health and safety of our students is our first priority. Contingency planning is underway using information from local, state and federal healthcare officials to prepare for and respond to any situation that may impact our schools and families.
Working in partnership with our students, parents, and school community we would like to begin by reminding each of you of the universal precautions for reducing the risk of any viral respiratory infection. They include:
- Frequent washing of hands
- Covering coughs/sneezes
- Staying up-to-date on immunizations
- Staying home when feeling ill
- Conferring with healthcare providers for medical advice when necessary
Recently, the MVSD made the decision to delay two MVSD-International Club trips that were scheduled to take place beginning next week – one to Spain and the other to Thailand. While the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 was reported to be low in these two areas at the time, members of the MVSD school board, International Club Advisors, International Club students and their parents expressed concern about the potential health risks. In addition, the group shared concerns associated with “what we cannot control” – the continuing spread of the virus, the uncertainty of border and airport closures and the real possibility of students and staff being detained and placed into detention centers for an indefinite period of time. Worse yet, participants acknowledged the possibility of a student or advisor returning as an undetected carrier of the virus, placing our community at risk.
At this time there are no changes to school trips scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, including the Close Up trip to Washington D.C. Similar to the two international trips mentioned above, we will continue to monitor the recommendations of the CDC regarding restricted travel zones and communicate any changes with students and families who would be impacted.
We acknowledge and appreciate the adventurous spirit of those who call the Methow Valley home. Anticipating some of you may have plans for Spring Break that may involve travel abroad, we ask that you notify us if your plans include travel to a restricted zone as determined by the CDC. At present our Emergency Response Team is developing a protocol that outlines how we would address the return of a student, student of a family member, or staff member who has traveled to a restricted zone.
Emergency School Closures
Similar to other emergency situations that may disrupt normal school operations, the MVSD Emergency Response Team, largely consisting of its administrative staff, will continue to closely monitor the situation as it evolves, as well as the recommendations provided by regional, state and federal healthcare experts to ensure the health and wellness of our students and staff. In the event of a district-wide “emergency” closure resulting from an outbreak, the students, parents, and staff will be notified using the communication tools typically used when faced with adverse weather conditions. These include: email, district website, district Facebook page, School Messenger and local media sources. The school district would be able to request a waiver of the school days from OSPI.
In the event of an extended district-wide “emergency” closure, the MVSD staff will attempt to engage students through a remote school experience using the district’s available technology.
Discrimination Has No Place Here
Finally, we would like to stress one of the district’s core beliefs… “Diversity makes our community stronger.” The risks of viruses like COVID-19 are not connected with race, ethnicity, or nationality. Stigma will not help fight the illness. Sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do.
Current COVID-19 Updates can be found at:
Please send any questions or comments you believe would support the MVSD’s Emergency Response Team to: MVSD Superintendent, Tom Venable
Superintendent, Methow Valley School District