We regularly update these FAQs as more information is available. Thank you for being part of the BSD community.

Topics in this section:

Childcare


Will before and after-school care be provided?

Before and after-school care will be available. Please see the Early and Extended Learning Programs page for more information.


Decision-Making


Why are you opening schools now, what has changed?

Public health experts have learned a lot since schools were first closed. Taken together, the science and early experience of schools in Washington state and across the nation suggest that rigorous health and safety measures can limit transmission of COVID-19 in the school environment, especially at the elementary grade level. This new information led Gov. Jay Inslee on to announce a change in guidelines on December 16.

How were educators and staff involved in or informed of decisions?

The decision had significant input and feedback from our association leaders who in turn regularly gather input with the members that they represent. With nine different labor groups, the District engages in regular communication and consultation through labor/management and negotiations processes.

How is two hours per day a better option for students and working families?

The half-day model is intended to be short-term and temporary, with the ultimate goal of returning K-2 students to in person learning full-time as soon as possible. Starting with half-days allows us to implement and practice safety protocols before we implement lunch and recess where students remove face coverings.  We also learned from other in-person services implemented this year that students need some adjustment time to build stamina for a full day of in person. Any split schedule creates some hardships.  However, this is a temporary model, and allows for students to receive in person instruction each day until a shift to full-time learning is made.

What data is used as part of decision making?

Virtual learning is working for some students and not for others. Given the guidance from the department of health, students can attend in person in small groups while mitigating the risk of the spread of COVID-19. This shift offers families the opportunity to select to remain virtual or come back in person, depending on what would work best for the student and family.

What is the process for another closure? Will students be moved among educators and classes again?

If another closure is needed, or a temporary quarantine, students would shift to virtual instruction. Students would not be moved again among educators and classes.

The half-day model of hybrid in-person appears to have less instructional time with the educator. Is that true?

It is true that the half-day in-person model provides less direct instruction time with students. This model is intended to be temporary, with the goal to move to a full-time in-person model for grades K-2 as soon as possible. Until then, students will participate with very small class sizes, allowing the educator to effectively serve students in person. Students will have specialists and independent learning during their virtual learning time.

Why isn’t the district waiting until after the holidays to announce a date, which might see a rise in infection rates?

We do anticipate an increase in the infection rate following the holiday. For this reason, the start date for K-2 was pushed out for two weeks following the holiday break. The current guidance from the Washington State Department of Health guides schools to provide an in-person instructional opportunity for small groups for the youngest learners at any transmission rate. Our plan aligns with this guidance and we will continue to align any in-person plans to guidance provided. Recognizing the need for families and educators to plan for the change to in-person learning, it was important to provide ample notice on the return date(s).

What is the timeline for reopening other grades?

District leaders, educators and staff have been working on planning for all grade levels. The district will share information through our regular communications channels when additional information is available. We will include 3rd grade in the next phase after K-2.


Face Coverings


Are students required to wear face coverings for the entire time they are at school?

Students are expected to wear face coverings when they are at school. Teachers will provide regular, safe, mask-free time (mask breaks) for students, with a focus on breaks for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. If you have questions about how your student’s teacher will coordinate and manage mask-free time, please contact your student’s teacher or building leadership at your student’s school.

When will students be permitted to remove face coverings?

Students may remove face coverings to eat, drink and when they go outside for recess. If a student needs a “mask break” staff will take them outside or to a large, well-ventilated room where there will be more than 6 feet between people.

Are educators and staff required to wear masks for the entire time they are in the classroom and school?

All BSD employees are required to wear face coverings when inside school buildings.

Will educators and staff wear face coverings when they are outside?

If educators and staff cannot stay 6 feet away from others, they must wear a face covering when outside.

If students refuse to wear a face covering, will they be sent home?

All students are required to wear a face covering when inside district buildings, unless they meet one of the acceptable exemptions to the mask requirements below. If a student is able to wear a mask and refuses to do so the student may be excluded from in-person learning. If parents and guardians need resources to teach students how to wear a mask, please reach out to your teacher or principal.

Exceptions to the mask requirement:

  • Babies and toddlers under age 2 should never wear cloth face coverings
  • Anyone with a disability that makes it hard for them to wear or remove a face covering
  • Anyone who is deaf and moves their face and mouth to communicate
  • Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional to not wear a face covering because of personal health issues
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or unable to remove the face covering without help

Can students, educators and staff wear see-through plastic face shields instead of a face covering?

No. According to Public Health – Seattle & King County, plastic face shields should be used only by those who cannot wear a cloth face covering, or in some instructional instances.

Are face masks with exhalation valves or vents allowed?

No. The Centers for Disease Control indicates that these masks are not adequate for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 as they allow virus particles to escape.

Are gaiters and one-layer face coverings going to be accepted as proper face coverings for students, educators and staff?

Yes. Public Health – Seattle & King County reports that acceptable cloth face coverings include cloth masks, scarves, bandanas, etc.:

  • Face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Face coverings should cover from just under the bridge of your nose to under your chin
  • Face coverings should have multiple layers (2 or more)

Research that previously indicated that neck gaiters are not acceptable forms of face coverings has since been found to be inaccurate. Gaiters made of 2 or more layers of fabric are more effective than single-layer gaiters and single-layer gaiters are more effective than no mask at all.


Health and Safety


What is the cleaning process between AM and PM sessions?

Surfaces are wiped down throughout the day and even between activities. Custodians will be wiping down desks and high touchpoints. Educators will also separate items in various ways, such as having bins for used items, separating materials for AM/PM, and assigning materials to individual students. Further, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer are available in all instructional spaces.

If a student has to quarantine independently, how will they receive instruction?

We will follow our regular absence process when students are gone for a short time.

If an entire class has to quarantine, will they receive instruction at home virtually?

Yes, the entire class would receive instruction virtually during a quarantine and prior to returning in-person. 

If a sibling has to quarantine while the other student is in person, should both siblings stay home? And if so, how will they receive instruction?

If there has been a confirmed, positive case of COVID in a family, the students in that family will need to quarantine. If a student is quarantined as a close contact but has not tested positive or exhibited symptoms, others in the family do not need to quarantine.

If a student on a bus has to quarantine, then does the entire bus need to quarantine? 

No, the entire bus would not need to quarantine. Only close contacts of the infected person would need to quarantine.  This would be determined through contract tracing by a trained district employee.

How will BSD hold families accountable for socializing and gathering after school and on weekends? Choices made by families may directly affect educators, staff, students and their families.

We cannot control what families do outside of school. However, we do encourage all families and staff to follow all mitigating measures. Further, we will be communicating regularly to families, reminding them to stay physically distanced and keep our community safe.


Student Assignments


When will schedules be announced?

AM/PM assignments will be provided to second graders by January 6, 2021. First grade and kindergarten will follow soon after. Daily instructional schedules will be determined by educators and provided to families through their educator.

How and when are morning/afternoon cohorts being assigned?

The cohorts are initially assigned according to the alphabet by last name (every other letter). This was done to ensure students with siblings are on the same schedule.  Students with different last names in the same family will be adjusted so they will be on the same schedule.  Families should let the principal know if they have a request based on extenuating circumstances.  There is no guarantee that all requests can be accommodated.

Do families have the opportunity to request morning or afternoon based on family needs?

Families should let the principal know if they have a request based on extenuating circumstances.  There is no guarantee that all requests can be accommodated.

For families that selected hybrid, can families request that specific students from a class or pod be in the same time slots?

Yes, families can make this request.  However, there is no guarantee that we can accommodate requests as schools work to balance classes. As a reminder, this is a temporary, short-term assignment prior to the full return to in-person learning.

Will families be notified if their educator will be teaching virtually for the remainder of the year? When will we know if our current educator will return in January?

Families will be informed of any major changes in teaching assignment prior to that change being implemented. 

For the asynchronous learning and specialist session (in the afternoon for group A and in the morning for group B) for in-person students, is it remote or in-person? If it is remote, will students go home or stay at school? If they go home, will they have lunch at home or at school?

The AM/PM schedule is intended to be temporary and short-term in order to ease students back into school and allow staff time to practice safety protocols.  During this time, all asynchronous learning will take place virtually at home. Students will receive transportation to and from school. No meals (breakfast or lunch) will be served at school for either AM or PM students.

What will students be assigned during their asynchronous time? Will it only be specialists, Lexia and Freckle?

The asynchronous time includes an extension of what students learned during in-person instruction, as well as specialist times and adaptive software. 

Students will be in-person for two and a half hours. Will they have a break?

Educators will schedule breaks based on the needs of their students. Students will stay in their classroom cohorts during this time.

Why is the district splitting classrooms by AM/PM instead by weekday?

The half-day model is intended to be short-term and temporary, with the ultimate goal of returning K-2 students to in-person learning full-time as soon as possible. Starting with half-days allows us to implement and practice safety protocols before we implement lunch and recess where students remove face coverings. We also learned from other in-person services implemented this year that students need some adjustment time to build stamina for a full day of in person. Further, students will be in very small groups, allowing educators to provide more targeted instruction during the temporary shorter school day.

Was it discussed to allow hybrid students to attend virtually, via camera in classroom, if parents/guardians are not comfortable sending our student back?

Yes, this was discussed. The preferred instructional model is to maintain separate virtual or in-person settings whenever possible.

If a student attends school from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., what instructional support can parents rely on if they are working for the entire day?

The asynchronous time includes an extension of what students learned during in-person instruction, as well as specialist times and adaptive software. Students needing additional support may get that through additional school staff. 

Will students be allowed to have a snack?

There will not be a snack time during the 2.5 hour time that students are in school.  If your child needs an individual accommodation please contact the school nurse or your child’s educator.  Our goal is to implement with fidelity as many mitigating measures as possible, including consistent face covering wearing. 

Will students get recess in the 2.5 hours they are at school?

There will be no formal recess during the 2.5 hours that students are in school. Educators will provide students with breaks during their instructional time. 

If the majority of students in a hybrid classroom decide to switch to virtual learning, what will happen to the educator and the remaining students?

We know how important maintaining consistency is during this time. Our intention and goal is to make as few shifts for students and educators as possible.  Therefore, we will try to maintain the classrooms, particularly if the majority of students make a shift. However, this will depend on the overall enrollment and space available. If an adjustment does become necessary your child’s school will contact you.

If families elect to stay in their current learning model, are they guaranteed the same educator?

We know how important maintaining consistency is during this time.  Therefore, our intention and goal is to make as few shifts for students and educators as possible.  Therefore, we will try to maintain the classrooms.  However, this will depend on the overall enrollment and space available. If an adjustment does become necessary your child’s school will contact you.

If a student changes from virtual to hybrid, will the educator definitely change and is it possible the school assignment changes, as well?

We know how important maintaining consistency is during this time. Therefore, our intention and goal is to make as few shifts for students and educators as possible. Therefore, we will try to maintain the classrooms. However, this will depend on the overall enrollment and space available. If an adjustment does become necessary your child’s school will contact you.

If a family selected virtual and wants to switch to hybrid and there is no space available at our neighborhood school, are they removed from their neighborhood school?

We know how important maintaining consistency is during this time. Therefore, our intention and goal is to make as few shifts for students and educators as possible. Therefore, we will try to maintain the classrooms. However, this will depend on the overall enrollment and space available. If an adjustment does become necessary your child’s school will contact you.

For families with multiple students with students who will return for in-person, while older siblings are still attending virtually, how can families manage attendance and engagement while coordinating school drop off?

Transportation will be provided for eligible students who return to school. Please work with your students’ educators and principals regarding specific situations of your students and challenges resulting from different schedules.


Technology


Will students need to bring their laptops or iPads with them to/from school and why or why not?

Students will need their laptop or iPad for their asynchronous instruction so they will need them at home during this time. Please contact your educator regarding the use of the technology during the synchronous, in-person instruction.

Will students need headphones and if so, who should provide them?

If headphones are needed, they will be provided for the students.


Transportation


If a student attends in-person in the morning and then attends BOOST in the afternoon, is there bus transportation back to their homes at the end of the day? Or, is the parent expected to pick-up their student from the BOOST site?

The parent would be expected to pick up their student at the childcare site.  Transportation will be provided to and from the temporary, half-day in-person schedule.

Do the foggers and cleaners used to disinfect the bus have a smell?

The chemical we use to fog the buses is odorless. Once sprayed on the bus, it takes 3 minutes to dry. 


Vaccinations


What has the district done regarding getting our educators and staff vaccinated?

We have formed a planning team to help our staff access the COVID vaccine. We are currently pursuing partnerships with local agencies, pharmacies and Public Health to hold vaccine clinics in our district for our staff, who will be able to sign up to be vaccinated. Our team is consulting and collaborating with our colleagues in the Issaquah School District regarding their model as an approved vaccine distributor.  They will be able to provide the vaccine aligned to the state’s phasing. As we pursue the option to become an approved vaccine distributor below are some key considerations:

  • A medical doctor able to write orders for nurses to administer medication
  • A freezer that can be temperature controlled with alarms and back-up generators
  • Nurses to administer vaccines and log paperwork in the state database
    • District nurses may require bargaining considerations
    • Volunteer nurses from the community depending on risk mitigations
  •  Full PPE for vaccine providers
  • Volunteers from local pharmacies to draw up vaccines to speed up the process
  • Local EMS available in the unlikely event there is an adverse reaction

Ventilation

Bellevue School District has developed ventilation standards for all buildings in the District, based on ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Condition Engineers) Re-Opening Guide for Schools.

For ventilation and air circulation we are layering multiple protective strategies including:

  • Increased outside air (ventilation) to each zone to the maximum allowed by the system. Goal will be to exceed rates required by Washington State and ASHRAE. Air is changed over 6.6 – 8.8 times per hour with outside air.
  • Disabled energy saving control functions that would reduce outside air exchange.
  • Ventilation systems and controls that can be monitored and adjusted over the district network.
  • Monitor ventilation systems and controls remotely including carbon dioxide levels which are used as an indicator for fresh air circulation.
  • Operate ventilation systems in occupied mode for one week prior to occupancy.
  • Operate ventilation systems 2 hours before and 2 hours after occupancy.
  • Matching student cohorts to ventilation zones to minimize cross contamination.
  • Using MERV 13 filters that are efficient at capturing airborne viruses and changing them at least once every three months.

What is being done to increase ventilation in classrooms and school hallways?

Systems in all BSD schools have been set to pull in air from outside. District buildings have multiple layers of MERV 8-13 filters in place that are changed every three months. Our ventilation systems are fully commissioned and continuously monitor carbon dioxide levels with sensors as a measure of ventilation.

Do Bellevue schools have air filtration systems in place, such as HEPA or MERV-13?

The district does not have HEPA filters in our HVAC system. We use Tri-Dex 2 ply to 4 ply filters which range from MERV 8-13. Occupied spaces are filtered multiple times by different equipment, such as Heat Pumps, DOAS (Dedicated Outside Air Supply) and Heat Recovery Units. Our filters are changed every three months.