As we head into a new calendar year, we want to reassure families of our plans to return to in-person learning on Tuesday, January 4, as well as online through the BSD Virtual Academy. Though we don’t know the full impact that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will have in our school community, we ask that families continue to practice the nine mitigating measures used in BSD schools, along with following Public Health — Seattle & King County and Washington State Department of Health guidelines. Please continue to reference BSD’s COVID-19 Health and Safety webpages where updates will be made as they are made available. Together, with your help we will continue to:

Health & Safety Updates

We understand that uncertainty at any time can be challenging. The district is closely monitoring any changes in health guidance, specifically from Public Health — Seattle & King County and Washington State Department of Health, and will work as quickly as possible to incorporate it into our operations and inform families so you can effectively plan for students. Initial guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health must then be implemented by King County Public Health before BSD updates its guidance.

It is reported that COVID-19 cases can present like a typical “cold.” However, if you are experiencing any of the common COVID-19 symptoms, cold-like symptoms, or are not feeling well:

  • Get tested immediately (The PCR is still the gold standard, especially for symptomatic people and is the most specific and sensitive COVID-19 test.).
  • Do not wait and hope it goes away soon; and
  • Isolate yourself or family member(s).

The following messaging around COVID-19 health and safety was shared with BSD staff and families through the BSD News & Events e-newsletter on December 22:

Updates to Contact Tracing

Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Bellevue School District, most likely due to the new Omicron variant, the BSD contact tracing team has implemented triage contact tracing protocols. Please visit our Responding to Cases and Suspected Cases webpage to learn more and understand the current COVID-19 mitigation measures in place to keep students and staff safe.

COVID-19 Testing and Test to Stay 

The COVID-19 Testing in BSD Schools webpage has been updated per new guidance from Public Health — Seattle & King County. Details have been updated regarding testing pools and locations, and new information around the Test to Stay process has been added.

Save the Date: January 7 Vaccine Clinic

BSD will be hosting a vaccine clinic, in partnership with Safeway, on January 7 at Sammamish High School, from 5-9 p.m. The clinic will offer COVID-19 vaccinations for students ages 5+ and boosters for students 16+.
Further details and the signup link will be shared with families on January 4.

COVID-19 Safety Over Winter Break

Winter break is here, and we wanted to remind you that COVID-19 testing is available at all BSD schools. The Washington State Department of Health states, “Along with other safety measures like vaccination, masking and social distancing, testing is an important and proven tool that will limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Testing as a mitigating measure is particularly important following the holiday season. As many more people travel and/or gather with family and friends that they have not seen in a while, the opportunities for transmissions across communities increases. Further, with new variants entering the United States and the efficacy of the vaccine still unknown, taking part in screening testing as a proactive measure, and diagnostic testing when needed, can help us keep staff, students and our communities healthy. Further, it ensures we can keep outbreaks minimalized and keep classrooms and schools open for in-person learning. Learn how your student can participate in COVID-19 testing in BSD schools.

Winter Weather Updates

Due to continued inclement weather, we take this opportunity to remind you of protocols surrounding the decisions and communications related to school delays and/or closures. Please see below for an abbreviated outline of our process. More information can be found on our Emergency Closure Decision Making webpage.

  • Transportation staff and school leadership monitor conditions in the early morning hours, and Transportation staff drive Bellevue streets to determine if school buses can safely travel on the most difficult hills and roads.
  • Superintendent reviews information from departments and makes a final decision whether to leave schools open, offer a late start, or close schools.
  • District Communications inform staff, families and the media through mediums such as: FlashAlert, School Messenger, district voicemail, district website, 24-Hour Newsline, district Facebook and Twitter pages.

For information about the different messages that the district sends out for emergency closures, please visit our Emergency Closures webpage.

When schools remain open in winter weather, BSD grounds crew, custodial and facilities teams are on-hand to keep schools safe throughout the day. Parking lots and pavement are plowed, sidewalks are shoveled and cleared with snow blowers, and ice-melt is spread. Special attention is paid to areas of high foot traffic, including stairs ramps, ADA parking spaces and crosswalks. Our teams are continuously learning from previous seasons on how to better serve our students and campuses.

Thank you for taking the time to review this information and your collaboration in ensuring a safe return to our schools.

Bellevue School District 405

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.