Safely Navigating the Cold/Flu and Holiday Season During a Pandemic… Thank you for Doing Your Part!

Dear Methow Valley Students and Parents,

Last week, the Methow Valley School District facilitated free, voluntary, COVID-19 pool testing involving students and staff. In addition, the Methow Valley partnered with Aero Methow, Lifeline, Family Health Centers, and the Okanogan County Public Health Department to facilitate free, voluntary, community-wide COVID-19 testing.

What we know at this time…

  • Over 500 Methow Valley students and staff participated in pool testing last week – No evidence of COVID-19 was detected within our schools.
  • 621 individuals participated in community-wide testing last week – 3 tested positive (less than 0.5%).
  • Any students and/or staff identified by the MVSD School Nurse and/or Okanogan County Public Health Department as a “close contact” will be required to quarantine, advised to monitor their own health and wellness, and strongly encouraged to get tested.

What does student, staff, and community-wide testing tell us?
It serves as a strong indicator that our students, staff, families, and community members are being diligent, participating in daily screenings/wellness checks, wearing their masks, social distancing, and hand washing within and outside of our schools.

Does that mean our schools remain COVID free?
We can rest assured that last week, no evidence of the COVID-19 virus was found in our schools at the time testing took place. However, we must remain vigilant, remembering that last week’s COVID-19 pool (batch) testing is only a snapshot in time.

What if we had been notified of a “positive” batch involving MVSD students and/or staff?
“It’s not a matter of if but when…” As mentioned in previous announcements, in spite of our diligent efforts to mitigate the likelihood of contracting and transmitting COVID-19, we anticipate positive cases involving students, staff, parents, and community members. If we were to have been notified of a “positive” batch, we would have been prepared to individually notify those who are part of a positive batch and retest each person individually. This process is designed to allow us to identify who in the batch is positive in a confidential manner. We would then implement the MVSD’s COVID protocol as needed.

Will there be an opportunity for students, staff, parents, and community members to participate in similar testing following Winter Break?
Yes. More detailed information about opportunities to participate in free, voluntary COVID-19 testing will be forthcoming.

It takes all of us!
Working together, we remain committed to implementing the key strategies that prevent the spread of COVID-19. As such, we wish to thank Aero Methow, Lifeline, Family Health Centers, Confluence Health, Room One, and the Okanogan County Public Health Department for their critical role in facilitating community-wide testing, on-going symptomatic testing, and related support for those impacted by COVID-19.

We would also like to thank each of you for doing your part to keep our schools open, our community open, and ultimately, protecting the most vulnerable within our community. We appreciate your persistence as we carefully navigate the cold/flu and holiday season. We are truly grateful to be part of a community that cares deeply about the health and wellness of its youth and one another.

Keeping our schools and community safe, healthy, and open takes all of us. Thank you for doing your part!

Be Safe,
Tom Venable
Superintendent, Methow Valley School District