Success in Lake Wash: Over 500 students with disabilities attended school in-person since early September

Backpack of school child with face mask and sanitizer.

On Monday Nov. 16, the Lake Washington School District shared an update with families in light of Gov. Inslee’s weekend announcement of new statewide COVID19-related restrictions. The communication included promising news about the district’s success educating students with disabilities in person. Below is the full announcement with information about students with disabilities highlighted.

Short version: since early September the district has provided in-person services to over 500 pre-K through high school students on a daily basis across 28 schools/sites. There have been 10 positive Covid19 cases; according to district officials none led to virus spread in schools and all were traced outside of the district.

This is a positive development for students with disabilities and their families. Administrators, teachers and staff should be commended for their support of students with disabilities during this difficult time.

Dear LWSD Families,

Yesterday, Governor Inslee announced new statewide restrictions due to the rapid increase in cases of COVID-19 and the increase in hospitalizations over the last 10 days. These restrictions are intended to reduce the spread of the virus and to avoid overwhelming our healthcare system. As part of the Governor’s press conference he indicated that there are no additional restrictions for K-12 schools or childcare facilities.

Continuing to Serve Students with Special Needs in LWSD Schools:

Lake Washington School District staff have successfully provided in-person learning services to over 525 Preschool-High School students daily since early September. These services have been provided by 300+ certificated and classified staff. Services have been delivered at 28 sites across the district.

School teams have implemented our COVID19 Safety Plan which follows all required guidance and recommendations which includes the mitigating measures that reduce the spread of the virus. As a district, we have managed 10 positive cases coming onto our campuses during the months of October and November. Each of these cases has been contracted outside of the district and did not lead to the spread of the virus within our schools or district facilities. We are confident, as are King County Public Health officials, that our strict adherence to the COVID19 Safety Plan will continue to provide effective mitigation against the spread of the virus within our schools and district facilities.

I want to acknowledge the staff that have been providing in-person learning services for students. Each has worked in conditions that are not typical for our classrooms; required use of masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and required distancing have been unique challenges. We will continue to adhere to the guidance of our local public health officials as we navigate teaching and learning for our students. As a district we are committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for staff and learning environment for students. The protocols recommended by Public Health, Labor & Industries, the Governor’s Office, and The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has led to success for our schools and staff.

Continued Improvement Efforts:

As a District, we continue to focus on multiple strands of improvement efforts for our students. With the majority of students learning through our remote learning model, we are actively analyzing the data received from our student, staff and family surveys. This will help us to identify areas for improvement for both our staff and students. Additionally, we are continuing to work through the negotiation process with our teacher association to finalize the working conditions for in-person Kindergarten and First Grade services. While we will continue to adhere to the Washington Department of Health Decision Tree to make our decisions, we are wanting to communicate with both staff and families the full details of what a return to in-person would look like. We are committed to working through this process to finalize this work so that you can have the information we assured you we would provide.

Data Review:

Over the last few weeks we have seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases. As of Friday, November 13, King County was reporting 223 cases per 100,000 residents over the last 14 days. We also know there has been an increase in overall hospitalizations with the rate of COVID-19 related hospitalizations also seeing an increase. It is important to note that the Washington Department of Health Decision Tree is a document that is modified depending on current knowledge of the spread of the virus and its impact on K-12 schools.

Thank you,

Dr. Jon Holmen
Lake Washington School District


Here is the original announcement – we will update with a link to the Lake Washington School District website when it is posted there.