Dear PSD Staff and Families:
We hope this message finds you well. Here are some news items for this week:
COVID-19 and the Status of In-Person Learning
Our goal has always been to return to in-person instruction as soon as it’s safely possible. To do that, we are monitoring Pierce County’s COVID-19 case metrics. Today’s case rate over a 14 day period with a 6 day lag is 76.3 per 100,000, which is the metric for defining the "High" level of COVID-19 activity on the Department of Health's Decision Tree.
For "High" activity, there are recommendations for which students would be allowed to learn in-person, including: “small groups, or cohorts, of students for the highest needs students, such as students with disabilities, students living homeless, those farthest from benefits to children educational justice, and younger learners."
Therefore, we will continue in-person educational programs as they stand now, which are limited to the groups listed above. We are in regular contact with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and will continue to follow their guidance. District leaders continue to plan for in-person learning for students in grades 2-5, and secondary students, so we are prepared for when case rates return to the “Moderate” or “Low” range.
Free and Reduced Priced Meal Applications
Free meals are available to all children aged 0–18, or older if enrolled in grades K-12, through the end of Dec. 2020, thanks to waivers granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These funds run out at the end of the calendar year, so families are encouraged to complete a new school meal application.
If you were eligible for free or reduced meal prices last year, you must submit a new application for this year. Visit our website to learn more.
Internet Safety and Service Outages
As the use of the internet increases for learning purposes, we remind you to take an active role in monitoring your child’s online activity, including social media, and regularly talk about internet safety with your family. The district uses Securly to keep children safe on their school-issued devices. There is a parent app available as well. See securly.com for more information.
Many internet providers have been experiencing national outages, which may affect your student’s ability to connect online. Check http://status.psd401.net if you experience problems for updates. You can also call the district office at 253.530.1000.
Virtual College Visits
Virtual college visits for high school students will be hosted via Zoom throughout the 2020-21 school year. Admissions representatives from schools across the country will host virtual visits for all interested students. A compiled list of virtual college visits with dates, times and instructions for attending will be updated throughout the year. For more information, contact high school career center staff.
High School Athletics FAQs
Frequently asked questions regarding decisions and protocols for the gradual return of high school athletics in PSD have been recently updated on our school reopening FAQs web page.
On Oct. 6, the Governor’s Office and Washington State Department of Health issued new guidance for returning to education-based sports and activities. As a result, the Washington State Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has developed new return-to-play guidelines, which are now reflected in answers on our PSD FAQs.
Thank you for allowing us to educate and support your child whether it be in-person or remote. We know the return to in-person learning has to be slow and careful and we appreciate your patience.