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Issaquah Highlands School Spotlight: November 2021

By November 2, 2021November 3rd, 2021General
School Spotlight

Issaquah School District COVID-19 Updates

According to the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the state required employees working for K-12 private and public schools to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or to have obtained a religious/medical exemption by October 18, with proof provided to school districts. Within the Issaquah School District (ISD), 97.5% of district-wide staff provided proof of vaccination, and 2.5% of employees requested exemptions, out of 3,241 total ISD personnel. Those who requested exemptions were reassigned to positions to avoid direct student contact and are required to take weekly rapid-antigen tests.

As part of “Return to Learn,” ISD students or staff who experience COVID-19 symptoms or are potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19 may take an in-school rapid-antigen test before leaving campus. While entirely voluntary, on-site testing shortens time between testing and results, easing family frustrations in locating open and available testing. Unvaccinated students must agree to in-school testing in a nine-day cycle to remain on campus, with parent authorization before testing. Results are available in 10-15 minutes. ISD will offer testing as long as tests are available.

“Return to Learn” is approved by King County and the Washington State Department of Health.

ISD has one of the lowest percentages of school-based COVID-19 cases in the region. In moving towards the next phase, ISD anticipates more volunteers will be allowed inside schools, organized student after-school activities will return, and facilities will reopen to the public. When the Department of Health provides additional guidelines, the district will quickly involve more of the community.

ISD upgraded their COVID-19 Data Dashboard, including expanded categories, charts, and data, along with a more mobile-friendly design. The dashboard updates the first school day of each week, as data compiles through the weekend. ISD makes every effort to help community members understand and gauge the most recent information and follow the potential transmission risks throughout district campuses.

ISD Hosts Free Vaccine Clinic for Ages 5-11

ISD will host a free vaccine clinic offering (optional) COVID-19 vaccinations for students ages 5-11, in partnership with Costco. After registrations went live, timeslots filled up in 25 minutes. Below is the November 2 update ISD provided to parents:

Earlier this afternoon we sent a message inviting families to a free, optional COVID-19 vaccine clinic for students ages 5 to 11. Interest in this clinic was extremely high, and all appointments were booked within 25 minutes. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Costco to provide this service to those of you who have already booked appointments. For families who were unable to secure an appointment before they filled, please know that while we cannot make any promises, we are investigating the possibility of offering additional dates. If Costco and the District are able to offer additional vaccination opportunities, we will send an update to families and staff.

Holiday Gift Barn Gift Card Program

PTSAs partner with the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank to help local families celebrate during winter break through the Holiday Gift Barn. The program serves more than 1,200 Issaquah children each year. Due to public health and safety restrictions, the Holiday Gift Barn will collect gift cards for families to purchase goods and presents. Visit IssaquahFoodBank.org for details and ask your local PTSA for specific suggestions and info.

ISD Seeks Pathway Advisory Committee Volunteers

The ISD STEM and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department seeks community volunteers from various professions to serve on ISD’s Pathway Advisory Committee (PAC). The PAC aids and recommends continuous improvements in the quality of STEM and CTE programs. PAC meets three times each year. ISD currently seeks professionals in the following areas: physical therapy, culinary, members of the deaf community, graphic design, videography, family health/wellness, childcare, and cybersecurity. If you’re interested, please email Janel LeMieux.

ISF Grants Support Innovative Ideas in Education

The Issaquah Schools Foundation (ISF) Classroom Enrichment and Kateri Brow grants fill gaps not funded by state or federal dollars and champion innovation. ISD parents, students, PTSAs, teachers, staff, and administrators may apply for grants. With remote learning, parents and students may write school grants. Classroom Enrichment Grants (<$3,000) enhance individual classroom learning environments, libraries, computer labs, resource centers, and schools. Kateri Brow Big Idea Grants ($3,001-$10,000) fund programs that respond to compelling needs and reflect innovation in education. Visit ISFDN.org for applications and information. The deadline for grant applications in November 21.

Volunteer to be an ISD Cultural Leader

Moving can be overwhelming for new families. PTSA Cultural Leaders support diverse families moving into the ISD system. The Issaquah PTSA Council Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Program seeks leaders fluent in other languages and willing to work with new families. We can build a local network of diverse parents to promote conversation, shared resources, and information through shared languages and communities. Help start the discussion by volunteering to be a Cultural Leader. Contact your PTSA’s FACE Chair or email AliSpinner@yahoo.com.

Tracie Jones is an Issaquah Highlands resident.