April 1, 2020

April 6, 2020

  • Dear Orting Families,

    Today, Governor Inslee announced that school facilities will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus. During this closure, all schools in the district will remain closed. Without these restrictions, public health authorities have told us the rate of infection will overwhelm the healthcare system.

    We acknowledge continued physical separation from school is difficult on students, staff, families and the entire community. This is disappointing news for all of us:  students miss their friends and teachers, and we miss our students. The extended closure of facilities also raises numerous questions for students and families. We are working quickly to answer your questions as soon as possible. In the meantime, here is what we know now:

    • We are developing our plan for longer term distance learning that will provide students opportunities for continued grade level learning beyond practice and review.  We are committed to continuing to partner with families and our community to support our students’ learning while they are at home, with the target that every student completes their grade level expectations for the year. 
    • If your child needs a Chromebook device to access online learning please email Jody Leonard at  leonardj@orting.wednet.edu.  Though we currently do not have access to internet hotspots as they are sold out everywhere, please indicate if you need one with your request for a device. Once hotspots become available, we will reach out to families that indicated a need.  In the meantime, families who need internet access should check with companies such as Xfinity who are making their local hotspots available to the public.  
    • High school seniors will receive support from guidance counselors on opportunities to earn and document credits they need for postsecondary transitions. Districts are working with the state’s college system to ensure smooth transitions.
    • We will continue to provide free meals for kids, Monday through Friday, at our delivery locations throughout the district and Orting Middle School.
    • Child care for children of first responders and health care workers will continue to be available. If your child is already enrolled in child care during school closures, you do not need to take further action to keep your slot. To apply for childcare, please contact Colleen Flanagan at flanaganc@orting.wednet.edu.
    • All field trips and events, including sports, socials and dances, will be canceled during the extended closure. We will engage with students to come up with creative alternatives to celebrate milestones. We will keep students and families updated on these decisions so that you can plan in advance to participate.
    • As of today, we have not been given any government proclamations that affect a June graduation ceremony.  We are continuing to hold our rentals of staging, seating, screen, etc. for June 11th.  In the event that the stay-at-home or gathering restrictions are still in effect, we will look at a summer graduation date.  If the orders extend beyond July/August, we will look at alternative options for digital or safe graduation ceremonies.  Already the community is reaching out with some fun and innovative ideas.  As we move later in this shutdown, feel free to send those ideas through to the OHS principal at friesc@orting.wednet.edu.
    • We are awaiting information from the Governor on whether school facilities will be open to provide summer school. 

    Staying home and limiting person-to-person contact appears to be making a difference in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but those measures need to continue in order to be effective long-term. As much as possible, stay home, limit trips outside for groceries, gas and essentials, and stay 6 feet apart from people outside of your home. Additionally:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
    • Stay at home away from others if you are sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.

    More information can be found on the district website and in our Department Quick Guide, including who to contact if you need assistance.

    My Best to You,
    Be Safe.
    Tony Apostle
    Interim Superintendent

March 26, 2020

  • Dear Orting Community,

    Yesterday evening, Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order took effect in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. This proclamation:

    • Requires every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need to pursue essential activities
    • Bans all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes
    • Closes all business except essential businesses

    People are still able to go outside and visit grocery stores, doctor’s offices and other essential businesses as long as they practice social distancing.

    To support this order, we are requiring staff that can work remotely to do so. This means you can expect to see a reduced physical presence at our Central Office and facilities paired with a continued commitment to delivering essential services. To that end, we have been working to ensure staff have access to the technology needed to continue their important work and connect with students and each other. We are also regularly checking the voicemail of the main numbers listed on our website, so you can expect a response within 24 business hours if you leave a message.

    Through the duration of this order, you can also expect us to continue providing free meals for kids M-F in accordance with the school calendar, begin providing free childcare for first responders and healthcare workers, and provide learning resources for students through email and our website.

    Next steps in navigating this pandemic include continuously improving learning resources and delivery so that all students can stay engaged, and developing a plan in-line with OSPI guidance that supports our graduating seniors. Schools are reaching out to families to assess technology needs for students in Grades 2-12 so we can provide devices to those that need them.  You can expect to see more communication on these important topics in the coming days.

    Thank you for your grace and patience as we work to quickly build new systems to meet the needs of our students, staff and community.

March 18, 2020

  • Dear Orting Community,

    We have been working hard to coordinate next steps to care for Orting students and staff while complying with Gov. Inslee's orders in response to COVID-19. We are now able to share:
    -Details around access to buildings to pick up essential items
    -A survey to assess first responder/healthcare workers' need for childcare
    -An update on efforts to provide educational resources for students while schools are closed

    BUILDING ACCESS/ESSENTIAL ITEM PICK-UP
    Students and families can access buildings to pick-up essential items only (eg. band instruments, athletic gear) tomorrow, March 19 from 10AM - 2PM. This should not be considered an opportunity to clean out desks and lockers. After that time, buildings will be closed until further notice in an effort to keep buildings secure and sanitized.

    CHILDCARE FOR FIRST RESPONDERS AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS
    If you are a first responder or healthcare worker in need of childcare for a K-5 student in our district, please fill out this survey by Sunday, March 22. We will share more details next week once we have assessed the need.
    Link to survey: https://forms.gle/SxQdMrpQQGtWsM4W6

    EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
    We are committed to providing opportunities for our students to stay engaged in learning during school closures. This requires collaboration amongst teaching staff who have the opportunity to enter buildings tomorrow and collect supplies that will enable them to remotely collaborate. This is different than what we expected but we are committed to developing equitable, grade-level appropriate learning opportunities and establishing distribution channels to get resources to kids early next week. These resources are not meant to be a substitute for classroom instruction, but will help students practice their skills and learn independently during the closure.

    Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate this difficult situation together.

March 16, 2020

  • Dear Orting Families,

    We are committed to keeping you up to date with the most recent information as we navigate the school closures together. Today we are able to share details on medication pick-up and how we will provide free meals for students during closure.

    MEDICATION PICK UP:
    Medication may be picked up at the Central Office on Wednesday, March 18 between 8 AM and 12 PM. If parents cannot make the time then sign out can be arranged on a case-by-case basis by contacting our district nurses:

    Marian Deaton:
    (360) 893-6500 x4039
    deatonm@orting.wednet.edu
    Deanna Wulff
    (360) 893-6500 x4040
    wulffd@orting.wednet.edu

    Emergency medication such as Epi Pins will remain in schools unless otherwise specified.

    FREE MEALS FOR STUDENTS:
    Free meals for students impacted by school closures will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th. Meals will be grab-and-go and include one lunch and breakfast for the following morning. Meals are provided M-F in accordance with the school calendar (meals not provided during our scheduled spring break April 6-10, 2020). Pick up and delivery options are:

    Pick Up:
    Orting Middle School
    M-F in accordance with school calendar
    10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

    Delivery Routes:
    Route One:
    Hansberry & Mazza St NE 10:10 AM
    Hardtke Ave NE & Kendall St NE 10:30 AM
    Burr St NE @ Park 10:50 AM
    146th St E & 162 E 11:10 AM
    Anderson & Nunnally 11:20 AM
    Colorossi Circle NW & Spangler 11:40 AM

    Route Two:
    204th & Buttes Dr E 10:15 AM
    193rd Ave E @ Liberty Day Care 10:20 AM
    194th Ave E & 205th St E 10:40 AM
    207th St & 197th Ave E 11:00 AM
    190th Ave E & 205th St E 11:20 AM

    Route Three:
    230th Ave E & Patterson (sharp Corner)10:20 AM
    Bus will go through Chinook Est. 10:40 AM
    190th St E & 217th Ave E 11:00 AM
    177th & 212th 11:20 AM
    Elk Heights 11:40 AM

    Route Four:
    Balmer & Beckett Bus Shed10:15 AM
    Grinnell Ave SW & Kansas 10:25 AM
    Coplan St SW & Grinnell 10:35 AM
    Belfair Ave SW & Skinner Way SW10:55 AM
    Cardinal St SW & Eagle Ave SW 11:15 AM

    Route Five:
    The Country 10:20 AM
    Down Jansky 10:30 AM
    135th Ave E & 202nd St E (Deer Run)11:00 AM
    162nd Ave E & Albert Bell Rd 11:30 AM

    Thank you for your patience as we work hard to best care for our students, staff and community at this difficult time.

March 13, 2020

  • Thank you for your flexibility as we navigate the uncharted territory of this health crisis together. We have many unanswered questions. The Governor needed to act swiftly to close King, Pierce, and Snohomish County schools yesterday, and state agencies are working to fill in the details later. You may also be aware that today, the President declared a National Emergency and Governor Inslee ordered the closure of all schools in our state.

    While we wait for further guidance and develop a more detailed long-term plan, we will put the following short-term plan in place in our district.

    Closures and Restrictions

    March 17- April 24, 2020

    • Schools are closed to students
    • There is a ban on gatherings of 250 people or more and social distancing is recommended

    March 17-March 18, 2020

    • Schools, central office, and the transportation/facility building are closed
    • There are no facility rentals

    Supports to Students

    March 17-April 24, 2020

    • Meals will be made available (Details will be shared on Monday, March 16)

    March 23-April 24, 2020

    • Learning materials and resources will be provided to use at home (Details about how to access materials and resources will be shared on Thursday, March 19)

    This can be an unsettling time for our kids – and us! Thank you for your calmness, care, and understanding as we navigate this situation together. We will continue to update you as this situation evolves.

March 12, 2020

  • As you know, we are facing an unprecedented public health crisis. We have kept our schools open as long as possible, as recommended by state and local public health authorities. At 2PM today, Governor Inslee ordered the closure of all schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties requiring our schools to be closed from Tuesday, March 17 through April 24, 2020. 

    We know that in addition to education, schools provide vital support to our communities and that closure will have a major impact on our families. Contemplating weeks without that structure and care may seem overwhelming. Please know that we are doing our very best to work through the daily challenges the coronavirus has presented us.

    Stay Connected
    As part of our coronavirus response, we will be sending frequent updates with information and resources via email, our website and social media in the coming days and weeks. We understand that this announcement will create hardship for many families, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation during this difficult time for our community. 

March 11, 2020

  • This morning, Governor Inslee issued an order banning large events to slow the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties until March 31, 2020. This new information will immediately impact our district in the following ways:

    • Postpone Future Falcon Night
    • Postpone March concerts and performances
    • Postpone Annual Cardinal Relay
    • Cancel facility use for groups with over 250 participants

    This is a rapidly evolving situation that impacts communities, districts and schools in different ways. We will continue to work with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) to identify other areas we may need to expand restrictions in our community (eg. athletics and extracurricular activities, field trips, facility use by community organizations, parent teacher conferences scheduled for early April) and communicate this with you once a plan is in place. We make decisions on cancellations and closures in a partnership with TPCHD. The health and safety of students, staff, community members and high-risk/vulnerable populations is at the forefront of every decision.

    While we understand that these new restrictions could create hardship, we must do our part to reduce the spread of and exposure to COVID-19 in alignment with state and health department recommendations. For resources and the most up to date information, please visit www.ortingschools.org/coronavirus. We will also keep you updated through email and social media with the latest guidance and information as we receive it. 

March 10, 2020

  • As of today, March 10, 2020 there are fourteen presume positive cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Pierce County and none reported in our district. However, this is an evolving situation so we want to share valuable information so you know what to expect if the virus impacts us.

    Will classes or school activities be cancelled?

    The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) is not recommending school or activity cancellation in our district at this time. We continue to be in close contact with TPCHD, and any future decisions on school closures or activity cancellations will be made in a partnership with them on a case by case basis.

    What if I want to keep my child home from school?

    We understand that some families may choose to self-quarantine. If you choose to keep your child home from school, please follow the necessary steps to report your child’s absence and include the reason for the absence. Absences reported with a coronavirus related reason (ie. due to illness, sick family member, lives with someone who has health concerns) will be excused.

    What should I do if my child is sick?

    If your child has COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath), contact your medical provider to ask if your child needs to be evaluated in person. Please keep them home for 72 hours after the fever is gone and symptoms resolve.

    Will our district utilize online learning if closures are required? 

    In the event classes are cancelled, we do not plan to utilize online learning to continue lessons at this time. Teachers and administrators will work with students and families absent to ensure they have resources needed to continue learning or catch up on missed work when they are able.

    Where can I get more information?

    The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department provides daily updates on the number of cases in our area and information on how to stay healthy. We have also created a website, www.ortingschools.org/coronavirus where our families can get access to the latest impacts to our district (ie. potential school closures or activity cancellations) and resources to help navigate the outbreak. 

    We will continue to work with our health department partners and keep you updated with new information as we receive it.

March 2, 2020

  • The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. While there are no cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) reported in our district at this time, we want you to know what we are doing to prepare for and prevent the spread of the virus, and how you can help by implementing some simple prevention measures into your daily routine.

    District administrators are in contact with the Pierce County Health Department. Any decisions on school closures will be made in a partnership with them on a case by case basis. We have also ordered additional disinfectants and have called in additional custodial staff to help staff sanitize touch points in our schools. We will continue to share information with our community as the situation develops through email, social media and our website. If a school closure is required, we will also utilize our text messaging alert system, Flash Alert, and local media to keep you informed.

    You can help prevent the spread of a cold, influenza and other respiratory viruses by practicing these healthy habits:

    • Wash your hands! Do so often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your face. Especially with unwashed hands. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are open doors for germs.
    • Avoid people who are sick. Steer clear of illnesses if at all possible.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Hold a tissue over your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Then throw that tissue away and, again, WASH YOUR HANDS!
    • Clean things. Disinfect objects and surfaces often.
    • Stay home if you’re sick. This isn't the time to tough it out and leave your home if you're not feeling well.
    • Call first. If you or a family member are sick and plan to seek care, call first. Healthcare partners need to prepare for people who are showing symptoms—or direct you to the appropriate resource.
    • Stay informed. Through trusted sources like the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department: www.tpchd.org/coronavirus.

    Thank you for partnering with us to mitigate risk to our students, staff and community.