Bellevue School District schools will be closed beginning Friday, March 13. It’s expected to extend through March 27.
Since mid-February, the school board, district leadership and employee associations have been working collaboratively to plan for closure of BSD schools due to COVID-19 (coronavirus).
BSD has been following guidance from Public Health – Seattle & King County to stay open as long as possible. In light of current information shared today by elected officials, BSD is planning for alternative ways to serve the community and families.
There were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Bellevue School District as of the closure.
While public health guidance has not changed, the district is experiencing staff shortages that have interrupted the ability to provide high-quality instruction to students.
“Many of our staff fall into the categories designated by Public Health – Seattle & King County as being at higher risk and they have been following guidance and avoiding extended contact with others. In addition, we have many of our educators and staff who have been conflicted with serving our students and ensuring they are safe by taking care of their own health and their families’ health,” BSD said in a press release. “Surrounding districts, including the Seattle Public Schools and Lake Washington Schools, have begun making decisions to close. Many of our staff have children who attend schools in those districts, and we expect those closures to further reduce staff in our schools.”
March 12, was expected to be a regular school day. Having school that day was to allow students to collect learning materials they might need and so they can bring home any personal items they might want while schools are closed. Educators also will be able to talk with students and to plan for the closure.
Beginning on Friday, March 13 through March 27, BSD schools will be closed to students. School buildings will continue to be open for staff and district offices will remain open. During that time, students will have limited instructional opportunities. The instructional opportunities will be optional, not graded, and will not be meant as a substitute for learning that is currently going on in classrooms.
BSD is finalizing plans to support families during the closure in the following ways by providing technology resources, including mobile wi-fi hot spots, providing meals to students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and providing childcare for families who need to continue working during the closure.
“We understand that this plan will create hardship for many families, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation,” BSD said in a release.