Contemplating Next Steps for Woodland Public Schools

Woodland Public Schools
COVID-19 Headquarters

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 20, 2021

 


 Most Recent Updates

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Why school districts must follow the state mask-wearing and COVID-19 vaccine mandates

A few community members have reached out to inquire why the staff and students of Woodland Public Schools must follow the state-issued mandates on mask-wearing and COVID-19 vaccinations. While individuals have the right to possess a particular political viewpoint, public agencies such as local school districts serve all members of the community, regardless of political affiliation or perspective.

Accordingly, school districts must remain non-political as we serve everyone in our communities. We serve all without regard to each community member’s personal political perspectives and opinions. In reference to school districts, public agencies must abide by the laws, guidelines, and mandates passed down by State and Federal governments. That duty is especially important when those mandates directly affect the health and safety of students and staff in school districts.

Woodland Public Schools follows the state mandate that all staff and students must wear masks inside school buildings at all times. While many find mask-wearing uncomfortable or unattractive, studies repeatedly show that the act of wearing masks reduces the risk of contracting and/or spreading contagious viruses such as COVID-19. 

As new cases of COVID-19 become fewer, the decision makers in Olympia may choose to eliminate or modify the mandate. Woodland Public Schools will follow new health and safety requirements as directed. For community members who disagree with any requirement or mandate, we encourage them to reach out to their local state representatives as those are the individuals who have influence in the political arena. 

The staff of Woodland Public Schools will always seek to protect the health and safety of our students as our top priority so we can keep our schools open and our students learning in-person. 

 


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Spanish-language version of the Department of Health COVID-19 Symptom flowchart is available for download by clicking this link. (Click here for the previously-available English version)

 


Thursday, October 14, 2021

How is the vaccine mandate impacting staffing at Woodland Public Schools?

We have heard concerns from some members of the community that Woodland Public Schools is firing a large number of staff due to the impact from the Washington State Vaccine Mandate.

In August, Governor Jay Inslee and the state legislature required all K-12 staff throughout Washington to receive the COVID-19 vaccination or have an approved exemption by October 18. All staff were informed of this requirement on August 18, 2021 to ensure enough time to fulfill the requirements of the mandate.

In Woodland Public Schools, NO teachers will be terminated – all have been immunized against COVID-19 and/or have been approved for an exemption prior to the deadline. Out of the 447 staff members Woodland Public Schools employs, only seven (7) did not provide proof-of-vaccination or receive an exemption.

“Our top priorities at Woodland Public Schools are to keep kids in school with in-person learning while ensuring we do everything to keep our community’s children safe and healthy.” said Superintendent Michael Green. “The goal of the mandate is to slow the spread of a deadly pandemic; the reality of the mandate is that we are losing valued members of our school family.  I wish there were options to retain them.” 

 


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

What do you do if your student stays home from school sick?

Woodland students who stay home from school with certain symptoms must provide a negative test for COVID-19 before being permitted to return to school. Unfortunately, COVID-19 symptoms are similar to many forms of illness and include the following:

    • Fever or chills;
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
    • Muscle or body aches;
    • New loss of taste or smell

However, while some symptoms require students to provide a negative COVID-19 test, others do not.

To learn more about what to do if your student stays home from school sick and/or displays symptoms of illness, please refer to this flowchart provided by the Washington State Department of Health:

English Version   Spanish Version

Woodland Public Schools understands that arranging for a COVID-19 test may be costly or difficult, so the district provides free testing to all Woodland students, employees, and verified close contacts of Woodland students including parents and caregivers.

Testing hours are 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and appointments can be made online here.

 


 What You Need to Know

This section contains the current status of mandates and requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants currently affecting Woodland Public Schools. More details can be found further down, but the key details will be summarized and updated as they change in this section.

Mask Mandate for all Students and Staff

Washington State has mandated universal mask wearing for all students and staff in public schools regardless of vaccination status. Research studies continue to demonstrate that mask-wearing dramatically reduces the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

School Bus Requirements

In addition to wearing masks at all times, students must sit in assigned seats. The reason for assigned seating is that doing so permits contact tracing. In the event of a student testing positive for COVID-19, we can contact anyone who the student may have come in contact with them so they can also get tested. Students who refuse to wear masks or sit in assigned seating will not be permitted to ride school buses.

All contact tracing is done confidentially - individuals are informed they came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, but the identity of that person is not shared.

What happens if my child stays home from school sick?

Woodland students who stay home from school with certain symptoms must provide a negative test for COVID-19 before being permitted to return to school. Unfortunately, COVID-19 symptoms are similar to many forms of illness and include the following:

    • Fever or chills;
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
    • Muscle or body aches;
    • New loss of taste or smell

However, while some symptoms require students to provide a negative COVID-19 test, others do not.

To learn more about what to do if your student stays home from school sick and/or displays symptoms of illness, please refer to this flowchart provided by the Washington State Department of Health.

Woodland Public Schools understands that arranging for a COVID-19 test may be costly or difficult, so the district provides free testing to all Woodland students, employees, and verified close contacts of Woodland students including parents and caregivers.

Testing hours are 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and appointments can be made online here.

 


*FREE COVID-19 TESTING FOR STUDENTS AND FAMILIES*

As a partner with the Department of Health’s Learn to Return program, we are excited to add COVID testing as part of a comprehensive strategy to keep our schools safe for in-person learning, stop outbreaks and get students and staff back to school sooner.

Please note: If you have been exposed to a person with COVID and you do not have symptoms you will need to wait 5 days after the exposure to get tested. Day 1 is the first day after the last known exposure date.

We offer free testing in our health rooms at each of our campuses for all students and staff who develop symptoms while on-campus.  For those off-campus who have symptoms of, or known exposure to COVID, we will have a drive-up or walk-up option for convenient access to testing through our District Office.

TESTING IS AVAILABLE TO WOODLAND STUDENTS, EMPLOYEES, AND VERIFIED CLOSE CONTACTS OF WOODLAND STUDENTS (PARENTS & CAREGIVERS).    ALL OTHERS SHOULD SEEK TESTING THROUGH THEIR MEDICAL PROVIDER OR AT ANOTHER TESTING LOCATION.

Testing hours are 9:00-1:00 Monday-Friday.  Simply call us at 360-841-2700 to let us know you have arrived and we’ll come out to you. Testing is free for everyone regardless of insurance or immigration status. Students, family members and community members are all welcome to be tested.

Testing will be done with a shallow nasal swab, which is comfortable for most kiddos and adults alike  - the “brain tickler” is officially a thing of the past! To see how this is done, check out this video.

Please create a user profile and input your information before coming to the District Office by clicking this link https://curative.com/sites/27557/walkup. You will not be given an appointment time but you are registered; please show up between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday to be tested. On-site, we may also ask you to sign a permission slip. Please note that testing is completely free. If you are insured, your health insurance company will pay in full. If you are uninsured, public funds from the CARES Act will cover the cost.

Click here to make an appointment for a free COVID-19 test.

 


 

Mask mandate in effect for all students and staff regardless of vaccination status

Monday, August 16, 2021-Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has mandated universal facemask wearing in public schools for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. This mandate follows the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and guidelines set forth by the National Institute of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatricians.

The mandate stems from a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, likely a result of the more contagious delta variant combined with the FDA not yet approving the use of the vaccines on children under the age of 12. While many among us find masks constrictive and frustrating, an overwhelming majority of medical professionals agree that masks are a highly effective tool in preventing the spread of the virus.

The state education agency, OSPI, has made it very clear that the decision to wear masks is not a choice being left to local school boards. The mandate has the power of law. To further punctuate the point, the state has indicated that it will withhold funding for any district that refuses to comply with the mandate, in Woodland that would equal about 84% of our revenue. There is no local option for replacing any withheld funding.

We are all in this together and we can continue doing our part to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. Our efforts are objectively making a difference as efforts made by Washingtonians have resulted in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths half that of the U.S. average on a per-100,000 population.

We hope that this mandate will be revised as the virus becomes less prevalent. K-12 Superintendent Chris Reykdal released a statement saying, “I believe in time we can move towards a family choice about this particular preventative measure, but not until there is much higher evidence that mask removal won’t spike cases, close school buildings, or contribute to additional deadly variants.”

Additionally, Reykdal has requested the governor mandate all public education employees be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19. For more information, please watch this briefing to the media where Reykdal presented the scientific data, reasoning, and justification for requesting executive action: https://bit.ly/ReykdalBriefing2021-8-13.

 


Washington State Department of Health Mask Requirements

We get questions from parents and students about what qualifies as an appropriate mask.   The Washington State Department of Health states: "A mask or face covering is anything that completely covers your mouth and nose, and fits securely on the sides of your face and under your chin. It should be made of two or more layers of tightly woven fabric with ties or straps that go around your head or behind your ears." 

The CDC has published a GUIDE TO MASKS with more detailed information.

Students and adults who do not have a mask or face-covering that fits this definition will be provided a disposable surgical mask.

 


 

Vaccination is available to anyone 12 years old and older

 Local pharmacies, including Safeway, Walmart, and High School Pharmacy offer walk-in vaccinations to anyone 12 and older.   No appointment is necessary and no medical insurance is required.

 


Want to learn more about the current status of COVID-19?

Woodland's public schools will be open to face-to-face instruction for the 2021-2022 school year.  The district continues to work closely with the Clark & Cowlitz Health Departments to implement strategies that reduce the risk of transition of COVID-19 to and between students.  The strategies used vary based upon the COVID Risk level.

In the late spring of 2021, the local health departments transitioned from maintaining and publishing detailed metrics on the pandemic collected at the county level to the published data that is reported to and published by the Washington State Department of Health.

The data on COVID are all available in a number of different data dashboards which are accessible at: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/washington-state-covid-19-dashboards 

 


Additional Important Information and Updates

  • Eligible families should still apply for Free and Reduced Meals Program. Despite meals remaining free for all students, there are many other benefits available to families who qualify for the Free and Reduced Meals Program. You can determine if you qualify and apply using the following documents: Download the English Version by Clicking Here -or- Download the Spanish version by Clicking Here.
      
  • INTERNET ACCESS PROGRAM: The K-12 Free Internet Access Program becomes the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program beginning June 30, 2021. Families currently enrolled must cancel their existing internet service with their provider by June 30 in order to enroll in the EBB Program and to avoid charges for service. Click here to learn more about the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program.
     

  • P-EBT IS BACK! If your student qualifies for free or reduced meals and missed meals due to remote learning, you may qualify for the Pandemic Electronic Balance Transfer Program. Click here for more details.
      
  • Woodland Public Schools' Information Technology department has given access to GoGuardian software which allow parents and guardians to restrict the access their students have on Chromebooks including limit time use and website access. Click here to visit the home tech support website for more information.
     
  • Both breakfast and lunch are provided free-of-charge to students in in-school learning. In addition, the district will continue to offer meal delivery and meal pickup at Woodland Middle School. For more details, please visit our Food Services webpage.
     
  • Families who qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program may also qualify for free internet access. Click here for more details.
     
  • Many mental health providers are offering free services to those who need them. Please visit our dedicated Mental Health Services webpage to find a provider who may be able to help you and your family. For a downloadable list of Mental Health Services available to residents of Clark and Cowlitz counties, click here to download a printable PDF.
      

Ways to keep up-to-date with Woodland Public Schools: