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Posts Tagged ‘Covid-19’

Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King

Local classrooms are shutting down again.

With a substantial county-wide spike in COVID-19 cases, the Coupeville School District announced Wednesday that it is returning to full remote or distance learning.

This will go into effect immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday, and is scheduled to last from Monday, November 30, through Friday, January 8.

Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King issued the following statement:

 

Over the past few weeks we have been closely monitoring the rising COVID-19 rates in our state and county.

Up until recently our county was considered either moderate or low-risk when it comes to in-person instruction.

Over the past couple of weeks we have become a high-risk county for in-person school according to the chart on page five of the Washington State Decision Tree.

In fact, we have now more than doubled the high-risk threshold of 75 per 100,000 with the most recent time period (11/08/20 – 11/21/20) showing 152.09 new cases per 100,000.

We were provided with this most recent data in the past 24 hours and this morning we consulted with Island County Public Health, area superintendents, school board members, and our District Leadership Team, and the clear consensus was that we need to prioritize the safety of our staff, students, and community and go to 100% distance or remote learning.

For those students and families who have been able to have in-person services this fall I am sorry that we are having to make this change.

Your teacher(s) will be in contact with you in regards to what your fully remote learning program will look like.

Please know that our teachers have done an outstanding job of improving and implementing a very improved remote learning program for our students since last spring.

This was a complex decision for us as we know that for many families this will be extremely difficult to lose the in-person services.

Families who are having their schooling impacted by this decision should contact their teacher(s) or school office if they have any specific questions or concerns.

Our current food service program will continue for our families with weekly ordering and pick-up on Wednesdays and Thursday mornings.

We are thankful for our food service team providing this very important service during these difficult times for our families.

Staff who continue to work onsite will still be able to purchase daily lunches as well.

I am encouraging all staff members to work from home during this period of time if they are able to do so.

Having fewer staff members in the building on a regular basis will help reduce the risk of spreading COVID.

If you do work onsite please make sure you sign in as you enter the building and also on your classroom door if you are a teacher.

This will help us with contact tracing if needed and also with our efforts to efficiently sanitize our schools on a daily basis.

I know this has been a very difficult time for all of us but as we go into the Thanksgiving holiday I want you all to know that I am truly thankful for you.

I appreciate our students, staff, and families navigating these difficult and complex times with us.

I hope you can join me in being optimistic and hopeful in regards to our future.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you,

Steve King

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Paul Messner is back for annual Santa Claus photos, but with a health-conscious twist. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Feeling festive, in pre-Covid times. (Photo courtesy Barbi Ford)

Santa waits for you.

The Coupeville High School Class of 2021 is hosting a fundraiser, featuring socially-distanced photos with Old Saint Nick.

The event is set for Saturday, December 12 from 10-2 at Bell’s Farm (892 W. Beach Road), and cost is $10 for three digital photos which will be emailed to you.

Patrons are asked to park in the grass area behind the farm’s honesty stand.

You can pay with cash or check (made out to CHS Parents), delivered in an envelope with your name, phone number, and email address written on the front.

Since we’re living in the Age of Coronavirus, extra care will be taken to assure Santa, portrayed by Coupeville gridiron legend Paul Messner, is properly socially-distanced.

While he won’t be sitting with people in the photo as in years past, he will be clearly visible.

“In order to keep Santa safe this year we had to get a little creative,” Wolf mom Deb Smith said. “It’s a way to carry on a Christmas tradition while ensuring safety.”

Participants are asked to wear a mask until they have been seated for their picture, and if you’ve brought your pet for the photo, they need to be leashed.

“We want to keep everyone safe, and get you in and out quickly,” Smith said.

“Take some time to visit the Bells Farm honesty stand and grab some goodies for your holiday table or gifts for family and friends,” she added.

“We’re very fortunate to have their wonderful family help make this possible this year!”

 

To sign up, pop over to:

Senior Class of 2021: Santa Photos on the Farm (signupgenius.com)

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Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Director Mick Hoffman is calling for a safe return to play for state prep athletes. (Photo courtesy WIAA)

School sports and activities are needed now more than ever.

That’s the message the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association wants to send to Governor Jay Inslee as we hit nine months with no high school or middle school games.

Thursday, WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman issued an opinion piece, which we’re sharing in its entirety.

 

Ever since I was lucky enough to become the Executive Director at the WIAA, I’ve told our staff and membership that we are in the memory-making business.

Those memories can be made in any town, large or small, in any sport or activity, at a mid-week practice, a senior night, or a State Championship final. 

As a former coach and teacher, I had the opportunity to be a part of those memories and I’ve seen firsthand that high school is defined as much by what you learn outside of the classroom as what you learn in it.

Coaches and athletic directors, along with those of us at the WIAA, have long championed the value of education-based athletics and activities.

Everyone has heard how competition can build character, teach discipline and life lessons, and connect students with peers and their communities.

These are more than just talking points or “coach-speak” because now, in the absence of these extracurricular activities, it has never been more clear how much they are needed.

Parents can see the outsized toll this sudden change in life has taken on our kids.

It has diminished our sense of joy, created anxiety over our safety and wellbeing, and stolen what will soon be a full year of our lives.

While there is conclusive evidence about the physical dangers of this virus among certain age groups and demographics, the Governor’s Office and Department of Health must factor in the impact restrictions have on our students’ mental and emotional health.

A University of Wisconsin study found in July that approximately 68% of 3,243 student-athletes surveyed, which included Washington students, reported feelings of anxiety and depression at levels that would typically require medical intervention.

That was a 37% increase from pre-pandemic levels.

We are fighting a disease we have never seen before and one we know little about.

This fall, schools in Washington chose not to offer sports and activities in accordance with the Governor’s recommendation.

At the time, we had little information on the risk of extracurricular activities in relation to COVID. Now, research from around the country allows us to make decisions on real data.

The University of Wisconsin found that, in a sample of 30,000 high school athletes, only 271 COVID-19 cases were reported, with 0.5% of those cases traced back to sports contact.

In New Jersey, EDP Soccer managed 10 youth soccer tournaments in the state as well as multiple soccer leagues along the East Coast.

In approximately 318,500 games, no COVID-19 cases were attributed to participation.

Right here in Washington, Seattle United Soccer Club had 1,930 boys and girls participate in its programs this summer for two months of training.

In total, two of those players contracted the virus and both of those came from community transmission, outside of sport.

These examples of students returning to sports are not meant to diminish the havoc and loss that this virus has caused.

They are meant to show that if we work together and take the proper precautions, we can return to offering these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

We know this because it has already been done.

These are challenging times, absolutely, but there is no hiding from this pandemic.

We’ve heard the hesitancy among superintendents: “How can we offer athletics when we haven’t returned to in-person learning?”

This is not a logistical question. It is a question regarding optics and politics.

I understand the hesitancy based on the stance of their communities. However, we must focus on the values and interconnectivity of extracurricular activities.

Education-based sports and activities have always been a key component of our school system.

We cannot eliminate one portion of a student’s education because we had to modify another.

Aside from the inherent values that come with athletic and activity participation, students who compete in high school have shown to achieve higher grades, increase motivation and engagement, and improve the overall high school experience.

I’ve heard anecdotal evidence from our schools as well.

Administrators in large school districts are reporting three times the number of students earning failing grades this year with all the challenges we face.

Students are not attending on a regular basis or, in some cases, at all.

This has been a difficult time for students, teachers and everyone working to educate our children.

Returning to competition will not be a cure-all, but, in a time where students have become disconnected from their education, we know athletics and activities can help them re-engage.

This call to action is not coming from a place of self-preservation or self-interest.

While the WIAA itself has taken a financial hit during the pandemic, I am confident the organization is positioned to survive these hard times and thrive when we return to normality.

A return to play this year without fans in attendance likely makes for a more difficult financial situation.

But that is not what this is about.

We have seen education-based athletics and activities take place successfully throughout the country.

The state of Washington has demonstrated we can develop and execute safety measures during the pandemic.

Our athletic directors and coaches have proven they are committed to ensuring the safety of student-participants and complying with state-mandated regulations. 

We must allow students to participate under the supervision of their school leaders and coaches and the WIAA is prepared to assist in navigating that process.

There is no safer place for a student than our schools, before and during this pandemic. 

Not to mention schools offer the most equitable opportunities for students of all skill levels and financial means.

Restricting the ability of schools forces students and families to pursue avenues that are cost prohibitive and have fewer safety measures.

I understand that as I write this, we are seeing another surge in COVID cases around the country as well as in Washington, and that we may need to wait before we begin competition again.

But we cannot wait until COVID goes away because students don’t have that luxury.

They’re running out of time to make memories.

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Coupeville gunner Ty Hamilton splashes home a jumper. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Basketball is not cancelled, just postponed.

Again.

After meeting Tuesday, the Executive Board of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced its latest adjustment to the 2020-2021 athletic schedule.

With COVID-19 cases spiking statewide, and Governor Jay Inslee having recently issued restrictions which include athletes not practicing inside for at least the next four weeks, a December 28 start for basketball became more unlikely.

The WIAA confirmed that, opting to delay the start of hoops season to Feb. 1, 2021.

At that point, it will be almost a year since a Coupeville High School team in any sport has played a game.

The last time a CHS squad faced off with a rival school came Feb. 11, 2020, when the Wolf girls basketball squad lost a home playoff game to Meridian.

The pandemic kicked into high gear shortly afterwards, with spring sports cancelled in 2019, and fall sports postponed in recent months.

The plan is still to have three complete sports seasons for the 2020-2021 school year, if positive COVID-19 case numbers drop.

Under the latest plan, each season will last seven weeks and end with a “regional culminating event” in place of state tournaments.

Traditional winter sports, which for Coupeville is basketball, will start February 1 and end March 20.

After that, traditional fall sports (football, volleyball, cross country, boys tennis, girls and boys soccer) will go from March 15 to May 1.

Football teams, which have to have more practices than other sports before playing, will start March 8.

The traditional spring sports (softball, track and field, baseball, girls tennis) will close the school year, with practices beginning April 26 and the season ending June 12.

Once we hit those start dates, the ability to play will be decided by whether counties are reaching goals set by state health officials.

To play basketball, which, like football, is considered a “high risk” sport, schools have to be in counties that have less than 25 new cases per 100,000 people in a 14-day period, and less than 5% positive cases overall.

Also, 50% of schools in a WIAA region (by classification) must be eligible to participate in league games.

That means at least four of eight schools in the revamped Northwest 1B/2B League will have to be ready to go for basketball to begin.

With another delay to the start of actual play, the WIAA also voted Tuesday to extend the open coaching window to January 23.

That window, which has been extended twice now, allows coaches to work with student/athletes and have practices.

CHS, under the guidance of Athletic Director Willie Smith, has been holding carefully-monitored workouts for most of its sports programs.

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With COVID-19 cases spiking in Washington state, WhidbeyHealth is adjusting its rules regarding visitors.

The new guidelines, issued Monday, are in effect at the Medical Center, Primary and Specialty Care Clinics, and Walk-In Clinics.

Routine visitation is being suspended at all locations in favor of the modified policy.

Temperature monitoring and COVID-19 symptom monitoring are required before entrance of any person (patient, visitor, support person, staff) at all locations.

Additional monitoring of travel history and exposure history is also in place prior to entry.

Patients will not be denied care if exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).

Visitors, support persons, and staff will not be granted entrance if they cannot meet the temperature monitoring requirements (less than or equal to 99.9◦F/37.6◦C), or if there is exposure history.

All patients, visitors, and support persons are required to be masked during any/all interactions with WhidbeyHealth staff.

Visitors/support persons to departments/areas of care are restricted as follows:

 

Emergency Department:

No visitors or support persons.

 

Medical/Surgical Inpatient Department:

No visitors. One support person. If a support person wishes to stay, they must remain in the hospital for the entire length of the patient’s care.

 

Intensive Care Unit: 

No visitors. One support person. If a support person wishes to stay, they must remain in the hospital for the entire length of the patient’s care.

 

WhidbeyHealth Family Birth Place:

No visitors. One support person. If a support person wishes to stay, they must remain in the hospital for the entire length of the patient’s care.

 

Surgical Services: 

No visitors and no support persons. Responsible adult support person should remain in their vehicle or return home during the procedure.

 

MAC:

No visitors or support persons.

 

Rehab Services:

No visitors or support persons.

 

Respiratory Therapy:

No visitors or support persons.

 

Lab:

No visitors or support persons.

 

Diagnostic Imaging:

No visitors or support persons.

 

Primary Care, Specialty Care, and Walk-In Clinics: 

No visitors or support persons.

 

West Wind Café (Medical Center):

Only employees will have access to the West Wind Café. Visitors and support persons may request a meal through the kitchen.

 

Gift Shop (Medical Center):

Patients, visitors and support persons will not have access.

Gift shop will offer “curbside pickup” through phone orders — (360) 678-7656, ext. 3901 — between 10-5, Monday-Friday.

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