January 12, 2022 Valley School District Update from Superintendent Ben Ferney
Dear Valley School District families and staff,
Thank you for your flexibility and support as we navigate through this ongoing pandemic. The district is experiencing substantial challenges with staffing shortages and unfilled posted positions that have put a significant strain on our classrooms, schools, transportation, and overall district operations. Our hope is to continue in-person learning, and that largely depends on available staffing and transmission levels of the new COVID-19 variant. As you may be aware, school districts in our region have had to pause athletics and, in some cases, go to remote learning.
The Washington Department of Health (DOH) issued new health and safety guidance last week concerning quarantine and isolation:
If a person tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms,
- 5-day isolation at home for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students/staff. Before returning to school, symptoms must be absent or resolving, and while at school must continue to wear mask.
If a person is exposed to COVID-19 (close contact),
- Unvaccinated students/staff can return on day 6 with a negative COVID-19 test result taken no earlier than day 5 (a modified quarantine). PCR and Rapid Antigen testing are both accepted for this screening test.
- If individual declines to test or does not test, quarantine can end after 10 full days beginning after the last close contact if no symptoms have developed.
- Fully vaccinated students/staff that are asymptomatic do not need to quarantine.
The updated DOH and Supplemental Guidance for K-12 schools can be found at www.doh.wa.gov (Washington Dept. of Health), www.netchd.org, and our website www.valleysd.org on the COVID-19 Resources page (found in Parents and Community sections).
Valley School District will continue to follow guidance from public health officials regarding COVID-19 safety to help keep students and staff healthy and in school. We ask parents and families to encourage your students to wear masks, support good hygiene, and to stay home if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:
- Cough (not related to a chronic health condition)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fever of 100.4°F or higher or a sense of having a fever
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Muscle or body aches
- Congestion/runny nose – not related to seasonal allergies
- Unusual fatigue
We appreciate your unwavering support as we pull together to meet these challenges!