COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Corona Virus Information

Resources 
 Dieringer Coronavirus Update


10/4/2020


Due to rising trends of COVID-19 cases in Pierce County, the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department has advised several of our neighboring school districts  to pause bringing back additional students for in-person learning until we see a trending decline in case numbers.  

The Health Department has confirmed that students designated as high need individuals can continue to have in-person instruction in small groups.  As such, in-person instruction for our most vulnerable students will continue. This new news about a return to in-person instruction for elementary students does not impact self-contained special education students, some of our other students with special needs, and students furthest from educational justice.

We will continue our work and planning that we have begun that currently targets a November 2nd return for students in preschool through fifth grade.  It is difficult to say today whether we can stick with that November date, but for the time being we will wait and see what happens with transmission rates in Pierce County.  We know at some point we will be back to in-person learning in a hybrid model so it is important to put in the hours now and finalize our plans. 

If you haven't already, please complete the survey in Skyward sent out last Friday to help us plan for an eventual return to in-person learning in a hybrid learning model.  Please access the survey in  Skyward Family Access.  Remember, you need to complete it for each of your students. After logging in you will see a tab on the left labeled Online Forms.  After clicking on it, you will see the “20-21 Return to Class AM/PM" Parent Survey. From there, click on the survey to complete it.  The survey has been updated to reflect the original timeframe commitment of the end of the 2nd trimester (March 23rd) for elementary students and the end of the first semester (February 1st) for middle school families.  You can log back in and edit your responses if you've already submitted your answers and need to change something.

If you have questions or would like more information about our plans for hybrid learning visit our Fall Reopening Page on the district website at https://www.dieringer.wednet.edu/community/dieringer_fall_school_reopening.  You can also learn about our plans by watching the recording of Monday's board meeting.  The recording is available at https://dsd343.zoom.us/rec/share/GXXNcnxXD5uG68qQZWTSvYd29S3bdhDYQH1mUL6PiWFV86ez0fe_ZiInPQhyQEXP.e4c0ThF-jUE7_Rly.  When prompted use r!#5eLLF as the passcode.  There is an FAQ from the questions asked Monday as well at https://www.dieringer.wednet.edu/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=29157047.

The Health Department continues to guide our decisions on a safe return to in-person learning.  Please remember to mask up, stay 6 feet apart, and stay home if you are not feeling well. It’s also a good time to get your flu shot. Find more information and locations at tpchd.org/flu.  

Thank you and also as a reminder we are delivering lunches again to students, more information about times and stops are available on our website at https://www.dieringer.wednet.edu/news/what_s_new/breakfast_and_lunch_delivery_by_bus




9/20/2020

Good evening,

We certainly hope the rain and clearer skies has come as a relief to you and your family after

almost two weeks of smoky skies and poor air quality. What a traumatic event for us all in the

midst of everything else already happening. We wanted to provide you a quick update on two

significant things this Sunday evening.

 

First, you will see a handful of school buses driving through neighborhoods around the district

beginning tomorrow. One of the expectations for this fall from both the state and the Office of

Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) was to take steps early to serve students who are

furthest from educational justice. This phrase means a lot of things but, put simply, we have

been asked to connect with students and families who have struggled the most with distance

learning or are in need of services and support that cannot be provided remotely. This all

begins on Monday and is a dry run to begin bringing students back into our schools, which leads

to the second update.

 

We are carefully watching infection rates in our area and planning for a safe return to schools.

Infections dropped under 75 cases per 100,000 residents in Pierce county just over two weeks

ago. Cases have gone up the last few days and may signal a spike from Labor Day Weekend.

In light of all of this, and in an effort to proceed cautiously, we are targeting the end of October

or early November to bring students back into schools.

 

We are working on a hybrid learning model where students attend school in-person half time

and work remotely at home when not in school. We want to ensure that we do things correctly

and do them well. This will be a big shift for many students as some schedules will change and

some students will get new teachers. We wish this could be avoided, but logistically it is

necessary in order to provide school both in-person for some students and online for others.

We will ask you to commit to one of these options very soon so we can put plans in place.

Currently, we are excited with how well remote learning is going for our students. The

experience we gain is continuously used to better distance learning now and in the future.

Many scientists predict another spike this fall and/or winter, in case we find ourselves fully

remote again, we want to be fully prepared.

 

We realize you may have more questions after reading this, but more information is forthcoming.

There will be a discussion and sharing at the September 28th Board meeting. 

 

Thank you,
 

9/4/2020

Earlier today Dr. Chen and the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) released a statement about the current COVID-19 community transmission rates.  For the first time since the governor’s stay at home order was lifted in June, cases are under 75 per 100,000 residents over a fourteen day window.  This means that, at least for the time being, we are in a moderate phase of transmission for the virus.  As a result, as stated by TPCHD, it is now up to school districts to start determining a process to bring more students back into school buildings.  As advised, we want to proceed with caution and in coordination with our neighboring districts.  As with everything related to the virus, there are many moving parts and we don’t completely know how things will unfold, and the last thing we want to do is bring students back and then turn right around in a few weeks and send them back home to learn remotely.

With school starting for Dieringer’s students on Tuesday, we will take at least the next two weeks to monitor cases and watch local transmission rates, with the goal of making a decision to set a return date in the minimum of a few weeks.  Our teachers and staff have spent the last few weeks diligently preparing for the upcoming remote learning start to the school year.   We are excited to see our students and take the opportunity to implement all the great things we have learned this summer to improve our online learning experience for students and families.

To keep you informed of Dieringer’s time frame right now, we are already committed to bring some of our students with special needs back into school on the 21st of September.  These students will be in groups of five or less.  If cases and transmission rates of the virus hold or continue to drop, we will make the decision to bring students back into school buildings in larger groups.  We promised you, our community, at least two weeks notice before we would switch phases of school.  Honoring that promise puts any sort of return to school in larger numbers at the end of September or sometime in early October at the soonest.   Per the guidelines from the state department of health, we have to ensure we can protect higher risk staff and students, maintain physical distancing while in school, ensure proper hygiene for students, and adequately clean and sanitize the buildings.

The first students to return would be our youngest students in our primary grades, and our intermediate students in grades four and five would follow.  Middle school students would follow after a recommended 21-day waiting period to ensure that transmission rates and infection rates stay low.  We will use this time with staff to finish work started this summer in preparation of a hybrid learning model.  The last piece in the planning process would be to hear from you and get a commitment on whether you will send your child to school for in-person learning.  The number of families committing to in-person or online learning will impact student schedules and could result in a change of teacher for some students.  However this plays out, we are excited at the prospect of students returning to school in person.

This Labor Day weekend, we encourage you to help maintain the great progress Pierce County has shown over the past few weeks in bringing down COVID-19 case numbers.  Continuing this downward trend is critical in allowing schools to bring students back for in-person learning.   Please plan small as you enjoy the weekend. We have our recent history of a huge spike after the July 4th holiday. A weekend of fun is not worth rising case counts, isolation or quarantine for many, more deaths, more hospitalizations—and a further delay of in-person learning for our kids.

Thank you.



8/17/2020

Good evening,

This message is a reminder that we have a Study Session tomorrow evening at 6:00 PM with the Dieringer School District Board of Directors.  The board will review a presentation of the school district's Fall Reopening Plan.  Use https://dsd343.zoom.us/j/98781034944  to attend the board meeting online. 

We know that parents and students have been anxiously awaiting a school schedule for the upcoming year so families can plan and prepare for the fall.  This work was complex, we built schedules that account for all the required learning time mandated by the state, and took steps to ensure we had a robust day that did not have students in front of their computer screens four hours on end.  Students will need to be available and prepared for school work each weekday.  Some of this will be real time, synchronous instruction, and other times will be asynchronous independent work.  In and amongst that, students may be on a video conference but working independently or in small groups.  Elementary students will see our specialists and middle school students will have electives.  Below are our most up to date draft schedules for all three schools.  There is still some fine tuning that needs to happen with students’ schedules at each location.  This will be worked out in the coming days.  The overall blocks of time for instruction should remain the same as each schedule is refined.  Please join the Study Session tomorrow to hear more details about the plans at each school.  

North Tapps Middle School Schedule

Dieringer Heights Elementary School Schedule

Lake Tapps Elementary School Schedule

We plan to serve meals for students again this fall.  The federal regulations about serving meals however is different than last spring.  To help us plan for the first month or two please complete our survey at https://forms.gle/14vzZoAuhvuRxvRE7

Thank You. 



7/23/2020

Good evening,

Hopefully you saw the message from yesterday about the meeting with Dr. Chen and the Pierce County superintendents that occurred earlier today.  Over the course of the late afternoon and evening, information emerged from our neighboring districts in Pierce County about Dr. Chen’s recommendation that we start school online this fall.  With the information that our county health department did not feel it was safe to bring students back into our buildings, we can now plan for a start to the school year that is fully online.  You can read more about this conversation and Dr. Chen's thoughts on starting school at https://www.tpchd.org/Home/Components/Blog/Blog/31655/333.

We realize that this news may answer many of the questions you had about this upcoming fall.  While at the same time, we also realize that this new recommendation raises even more questions.  The Dieringer School District Board of Directors will have an in depth conversation at Monday’s meeting, and many other conversations and planning will occur between now and the start of school.  More information will be relayed to families in the coming days and weeks.    

Thank you again for your continued patience and understanding.  Everyone in the Dieringer School District is committed to providing the best online distance learning experience possible this fall.



7/21/2020

Good evening,

You've likely seen and heard today that numerous school districts to our north in King County announced their plans to start this fall with a 100% online model.  Those districts' messages cited rising infection rates in our region and concerns over what the opening of school buildings might do to accelerate those case numbers.  Tomorrow we have a meeting with the school districts in Pierce County and Dr. Anthony Chen, the head of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.  Armed with the information we get tomorrow, there will be a follow up conversation with the school board at Monday's meeting.  We will be in communication about any possible changes in our plans for the fall after Monday.  In meantime, please know that our priority for this fall is the health and safety of our community, students, and staff. Additionally, if you haven't yet completed your survey for next fall, please log in to Family Access and share your intentions for the start of the school year with us.  You should have an email from last Tuesday and another email from Sunday if you have not yet completed your survey.  The survey can also be accessed at https://www2.nwrdc.wa-k12.net/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wdierins71/seplog01.w 

Thank you.



7/17/2020

Here is a link to the letter that was sent to Dieringer families on Tuesday this week. If for some reason you missed the message click the link below to view new school procedures.

Dieringer Letter to Families


7/3/20

Good evening,

The Dieringer School District is planning an instructional model for this fall that abides by current state guidelines and best meets the needs of families and students. We continue to explore ways to have our building open for in-person instruction that protects the health and safety of both staff and students and is conducive to learning. With the combined efforts of over 40 advisory committee members, and feedback submitted from nearly 900 parents, we are working with the School Board to move forward.

For grades 4-8, we are planning a Hybrid A/B Schedule Instructional model.  This model would allow for two to three days of in-person instruction each week along with continuous distance learning on the days students aren’t physically in school.  

K-3 students may be in class four or five days per week, depending on how many families decide to keep their students home. Otherwise, these students will also be on a Hybrid A/B Schedule. 

Survey results from parents in June indicated that close to one quarter of our families would prefer to keep their students home until we are in a different phase with the pandemic. The actual number of families who decide to keep their students home will dramatically impact the model we can offer for grades K-3.   We will be reaching out to all parents soon in order to determine who will and will not send students to school in person.

Families choosing to keep students home will have access to a robust rigorous online learning experience that will be an improvement on what was offered this past spring.

Summer planning will focus on the implementation and details of these models across grade levels, in addition to an evolution of our continuous distance learning model in the event we need to adapt based on the potential of future outbreaks. Planning will continue to be a collaborative effort among our committee members, labor partners, and school representatives.  We want to thank both our committee members for their hard work and families who completed our survey.  We will continue to use the data collected as we make decisions in the upcoming weeks.   

We recognize that anything other than a traditional opening is a hardship on families and the idea of more distance learning causes concern.  We want to assure you that as we narrow our focus on an instructional model our priority is to finalize on a format that provides the best education experience for students within the health and safety expectations of both the state and local health department.

Have a wonderful 4th of July and stay safe.

 
6/18/20

Last week, the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction released initial guidance for school districts to follow in preparing for the reopening of schools in the fall. 

With this guidance, we now have crucial information to move forward in the reopening planning process.  The Dieringer School District wants to hear from our families. Please take our survey at https://forms.gle/xXZfZRyJFJ47RcdM6 (If the link doesn't work please copy and paste the link into your browser).

Information from the survey will help us develop plans, procedures, and safety measures to keep everyone as safe as possible this fall. Our number one priority is the health, safety, and welfare of our students, staff, and families. 

Talking points about the state's guidance are available at https://www.k12.wa.us/sites/default/files/public/workgroups/Summary-of-OSPI-Guidance-Principles_Reopening-Washington-Schools-2020-21.pdf.

Thank you.



6/11/20

The state provided guidance to school districts today about how to safely reopen schools in the fall. The guidance is clear that our priority is to get students back in the classroom as much as possible, but school will of course look different than it did before. They further stated that the health and safety of our community comes first and recommended districts adjust the way school works so that we can protect the health and safety of teachers, students, and families, while also providing the best possible environment for teaching and learning.

The Dieringer School District has already convened a Reopening Committee to examine all the facets of what the start of school may look like for our students, families, and community.  That committee, which includes parents, will digest these recent recommendations and meet again in the next few days.  We will be sending out a parent survey to gather your thoughts and feelings too.  

Thank you again for your understanding and flexibility these last three months.  Please be on the lookout for both the parent survey and additional information about school in the fall.



5/19/20

Good evening,

As we near the end of the school year I wanted to share a few important pieces of information.  

First, next Monday, May 25th, is Memorial Day and traditionally a non-school day.  This year is the same, teachers will not be available to answer email or messages, and there will be no class meetings.  Also there will be no childcare and no meal service on Monday the 25th.

The last day of school will be June 19th instead of our originally scheduled date of June 16th.  The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has issued some changes to their guidance and laws which have mandated that we add days to the end of our school year.  With our buildings closed, this will of course not be a normal end to the school year.  Over the next couple of weeks specific information will be coming from your student’s school about how we will get personal belongings and supplies back to your family and how you can get items like library books and student computers back to us.

We have begun to look ahead to the fall and a lot can happen in the next three months that will have an impact on how school starts.  Our Fall Reopening Committee, made up of staff, parents, and two of our school board members, is meeting this week for the first time.  Right now this group is contingency planning as we await guidance from a state committee that began working last week.  As that information comes, we will develop and communicate the logistics needed to hold school in whatever manner is the safest for both students and the staff in September.  

Thank you again for your continued patience and understanding as we work through this trying time together.  I know I speak for all of us when I say we miss seeing your children in person.  Stay safe.

Michael Farmer
Superintendent



5/6/2020
 

VIRTUAL TOWN HALL - 4/29/2020

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

 

Q) Will the District continue with online learning going forward? (Teachers teaching live online.)

A)  Currently there are two options for what learning could look like for our students. Teachers teaching live instruction is called synchronous learning, whereas teachers teaching via a recorded video is called asynchronous learning.   It really depends on what the future holds, right now we plan to continue providing asynchronous learning. We consider everyone’s homelife is unique and it is not realistic to expect consistent availability.  We find recorded video lessons have been the most successful, providing the most students with the most access to learning.

 

Q)  Some school districts are considering returning to school a little early in the fall. What is the District’s strategy for managing the ‘gap’ in learning for our student’s in preparation for next year?

A)  Schools in California are considering returning early in the fall. It has not been discussed as an option in Washington. We agree there will be a gap. Through the guidance of OSPI (Washington Office of Superintendent Public Instruction) we are trying to minimize the gap as much as possible. Each school is conducting grade level team meetings, planning and prioritizing the most essentials skills per grade level based on the standards to help prepare students for the next school year. We realize through assessing students in the fall, there will be the need to reteach some material to ensure more thorough understanding.

 

Q)  Have any thoughts gone into preparation for a possible secondary peak to coincide with the regular flu-season this fall?

A)  If there were to be a spike in the numbers this fall, our strategy would be to follow the direction and guidance of OSPI and the Governor, along with state and local health departments.

 

Q)  During this unique climate we find ourselves in, how does Dieringer compare with other districts in Washington?

A)  We are doing exceedingly well, and are ahead of the curve.  Thank you to our community! If you had not passed the tech levy, we would not be in a position to provide each student with their own device and have access to other electronic and digital resources.

 

Q) What will the transition from this year to next year look like for students changing schools with IEP’s (Individualized Education Program)?

A)  Both the currently attended school and the receiving school of a student with an IEP are involved in the process through communication and involvement to help establish the receiving school’s relationship with the student. We want to ensure the needs and goals of the student continue to be addressed enabling the student to thrive in the new environment.

 

Q)  What resources are available for kids who are not being challenged with the current schoolwork being assigned?

A)  The District is trying to prioritize work that is assigned to be the most critical elements of content for the next grade.  If your student needs more of a challenge, please reach out to your student’s teacher(s). They are more than willing to provide some assistance in coming up with activities or lessons to help support your child.

 

Q) Is there any possibility of having primary teachers loop next year?

A)  We have had conversations about teachers looping. Our goal is to support students and minimize the gap as much as we can.  It is a possibility and is something that will continue to be considered.

 

Q)  With the variety of platforms used, and assignments sent out on different days with different due dates, how can parents and students navigate schoolwork and be sure the work assigned is getting done?

A)  We understand the current learning structure can be frustrating. The teachers are learning how to teach in a new way, and all have different levels of a technology knowledge base. The goal is to streamline and be as consistent as possible with continued grade level meetings in the elementary schools and the continued use of Schoology in the middle school. Please reach out to your teachers for clarification or to get your questions answered.

 

Q)  Is Skyward accurate for grading or assignment completion?

A)  Skyward had been a tool of communication to see student’s grades and missing assignments in the past (mainly for 4th and 5th graders)  but since we’re not scoring or collecting data in the same way as before the school closure) it’s not something we’re utilizing or that can fulfill the needs of communication. We are instead utilizing checklists within, as things are turned in. Your teachers will continue contact with you as new resources are used. We are looking for more efficient ways of communicating, some through Google Classroom.

 

Q)  Has the District been able to keep in contact with a large percentage of the student body?  How many students have “fallen off the radar”?

A)  The number of students we have not had any contact with since the school closure began has been minimal, a very small handful. Every effort continues to contact each of our students.  Our goal is to make sure everyone’s needs are being met; academically, socially and emotionally.

 

Q)  Will the Highly Capable program be offered next year?

A)  Yes, the Highly Capable program will be offered. We will not be doing testing in the spring like we usually do for the following school year. It is a conversation that will continue. In the fall we plan to test the students in the school they attend, where they are most comfortable.

 

Q)  Have there been conversations about providing social and emotional support for student when now and when they do return to school?

A)  Our counselors continue to meet with groups online or one on one meetings online. The goal is to keep kids connected with the staff and each other.  If your student needs social/emotional support our counselors are the best point person for that. Please feel free to reach out to them.

 

Q) The Right at School program is offering weekly “camps” at schools in other school districts in May. Is this an option for our district?

A) Dieringer will wait for the current stay at home order to be lifted before we would consider bringing larger numbers of students together.  The governor and the health department would need to remove any restrictions on large group gatherings as well before something like camps would begin.

 

Q) If things are not back to functioning normally come this fall, is there flexibility with moving 6th grade camp to spring?

A) This is a topic of conversation for the middle school at the present time.  We are exploring all our options and having camp at some point during the next school year is a priority as long as it can be held safely and meet the guidelines for gatherings set by the Governor and the state.

 

Q) Regarding 5th graders, Is there an opportunity for Biz Town online?

A) We are working with various outside groups like Biz Town, and others, to do our best to ensure students still get as many opportunities as possible while not attending school in person.

 

Q) I understood the expectation for a NTMS student to expect 2 hours of work per class, per week. My student is spending 6-9 hours a day on school.

A) That two hours is a recommendation and an average expectation.  Some students will complete work in less time and other may take much longer to complete the same assignments.  Feel free to reach out to your student’s teacher(s) or principal if you have questions about their workload.

 

Q) Are there plans for students to be able to collect their school supplies and materials from their classrooms?

A) Yes, there is guidance from the county health department on how to accomplish this safely.  We expect to do this in June and more details will come towards the end of May or early June.

 

Q) Can we have additional work for summer to not have a gap? Such as having access to IXL or other teaching sites? Especially for kids with IEP’s?

A) We are working hard to maximize distance learning for all students.  We are currently working on plans for the summer that include opportunities for all students and those may include access to some online platforms.

 

Q) I wondered about the transition and class ‘catch up’ for 8th graders to high school. As a parent, is there anything we need to do in prep for high school? And how do classes such as Geometry transfer to their high school transcripts?

A) The middle school staff will be in regular communication with 8th grade parents about the transition to high school.  We are working with high schools to ensure that our students grades in credit bearing classes like geometry earn grades that will follow them to high school and end up on their transcript.

 

Q) Will more details be coming out regarding the middle school grading policy?

A) Yes, communication went home to families on May 6, 2020 with more information about grading.  If you have questions please contact the staff at North Tapps Middle School.




4/24/2020

After careful consideration and including direct feedback from educators, students, and parents, The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released guidance on grading this week.  New principles were developed to support students and do no harm.  Considering the current circumstances around COVID-19, every student has the chance to improve from the point they were at on March 13th when school buildings were closed.

  • For students in middle school grades
  • For students in grades K-5

Details of this guidance can be found at www.k12.wa.us.

Teachers will continue to provide expectations based on state standards, skills, and knowledge that are most essential for success for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year and to be prepared for the 2020-2021 school year.

Our middle school students who are taking high school courses will also receive grades.  We are working with our neighboring districts that receive our students for high school to ensure our plans for credit bearing classes align with their grading expectations.  More information will be coming to those students and families.  Elementary students should continue learning based on guidance from their teachers.  We are excited that all students will have the opportunity to continue to engage in their learning.

In addition to this new information about grading, we are also holding a Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday April 29th at 6:00 PM.  Our principals and administrators will be available online to answer questions and gather feedback from you.  We would like to hear how continuous distance learning is going for you and your student(s).  Details to access the Town Hall will be sent out Tuesday and posted online. 

Thank you

4/6/2020

Today, Governor Inslee announced that schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus. During this closure, all schools in the Dieringer School 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 school closures are 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 raises numerous questions for students and families. We are working quickly to answer your questions. In the meantime, here is what we know now:

  • Online learning will continue after spring break until the end of the school year. We are committed to continuing to partner with families and community to support our students’ learning while they are at home.  Beginning Monday April 13, 2020, learning will shift to more closely mirror what happens during the regular school year. Students will be taught new material and their progress will again be assessed by their teachers. Also beginning next week, students and teachers will be able to connect with each other virtually online as a class or in small groups in all grades.
  • We will continue to provide meals for any student 18 and under during the week.
  • Child care will continue to be available in a limited capacity for children of first responders and health care workers. 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 visit our website at www.dieringer.wednet.edu
  • If your child needs a device or hot spot, please contact your child’s school or call the district office at 253-862-2537.
  • All field trips and events, including sports, socials and dances, will be canceled during the extended closure. We will engage with students and families to come up with creative alternatives to celebrate milestones such as 8th grade graduation and field days. Some events may be postponed until summer. We will keep students and families updated on these decisions so that you can plan in advance to participate.

Please, stay home as much as possible and stay healthy. Even while staying at home, it is important to give you children opportunities to connect with their peers electronically. 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 at www.dieringer.wednet.edu. Please reach out with any questions by calling 253-862-2537.


3/18/2020

Good Evening,

After our first three days of lives being turned upside down, I wanted to send everyone an update.  After the governor’s decision to close schools in Washington last week, we have been hard at work implementing directions from Chris Reykdal, the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Even with schools closed, many people have been hard at work behind the scenes supporting this massive shift in operations.

  • Teachers and principals have spent the last three days learning how to make sure you and your students get access to online extended learning opportunities.  That has involved training, meetings, and lots of planning.  We have done in a few days what we would’ve normally transitioned to over two years.  You will be impressed as this all begins next week.
  • I’m pleased to announce that beginning Monday, as the governor has asked, we will offer childcare for first responders and medical care providers out of Lake Tapps Elementary.  If you didn’t get a chance to complete our survey from earlier in the week, keep an eye out for registration details on our website and social media in the next day or two.  If you have questions about childcare, please call the district office at 253-862-2537.  I would like to extend a big thank you to our classified personnel for staffing our upcoming childcare services. 
  • Thanks to food donated to us from Microsoft, we will begin serving lunches tomorrow for any student age 18 or under.  Lunches can be picked up Thursday and Friday from 11:30-12:30.  Beginning Monday, students can get lunch and breakfast for the next day, weekdays from 11:00-12:00, until at least April 24th.  All meals are available for pick up at Lake Tapps Elementary School.  The student must be present to get the meal (sorry, per Federal guidelines).  More details are on our website and social media.
  • To help ensure the health and safety of our staff, all Dieringer School District school offices and facilities will be closed to the public starting at noon on Friday March 20th until further notice. The only exceptions will be the partial access to Lake Tapps Elementary School being used to provide free meals and child care for our health care workers and first responders.  To help increase social distance, many district staff will begin working remotely. Students and families will continue to be contacted by their teachers and school administrators. If you need to reach someone please call the appropriate school or district office, we will be responding to phone calls and email.
  • Finally, we are checking out devices to students in grades K-5 beginning as soon as Thursday afternoon.  Students can use these at home during the closure to take advantage of the upcoming extended learning opportunities.  Parents of students at Lake Tapps Elementary and Dieringer Heights Elementary, please be on the lookout for specific information from each school.  Pickup will be scheduled and staggered; we are being very careful to avoid bringing too many people together in one group so please only come at your scheduled time.  Families will be able to pick up the devices in their cars - think drive thru.

Thank you, I wish you all the best as we sit here at the beginning of this.  Please take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors.

Michael Farmer
Superintendent
Dieringer School District



3/15/2020

Good Afternoon,

Without a summer meal program in place, Dieringer School District needs time to ramp up and provide meals during the closure.  In the meantime, Dieringer students can get meals from nearby Auburn Schools starting tomorrow.
  
Beginning 
Monday, March 16 free breakfast and lunch will be given to any child ages 1-18 years at every  Auburn School site. Students do not need to qualify for free or reduced lunch to receive a meal. Meals will be available for pick up at each school from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and 11:00-12:30 p.m. every weekday. Any student will be served at any school even if not enrolled in that school or in the Auburn School District.

Keep checking back for more updates.

3/12/2020

As you know, we are facing an unprecedented public health crisis. I know it has been a stressful few weeks as the situation evolves on a daily basis.

We have kept our schools open as long as possible, as recommended by state and local public health authorities. We know that in addition to education, schools provide vital support to our communities and that this closure will have a major impact on our families. 

Governor Inslee this afternoon ordered the closure of all K-12 schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Tomorrow, Friday, March 13, will be our last day for the foreseeable future.  Following that, our schools will close indefinitely.  Public health officials have told us to expect to remain closed for 4-6 weeks.  The closure for preschool students will begin today, there is no preschool for our four year old students tomorrow. 

After Monday, March 16, 2020 all access to the schools will be limited to essential staff and other staff on an as needed basis.

We understand that this will create hardship for many families, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation. The school day is the centerpiece of the lives of many people. Children count on the reliable routine that a school day offers, from the classroom setting to the many people at school who know them, care for them and provide recognition of them five days a week. Families, too, count on that routine and the knowledge that their children are cared for during the day. It allows them to tend to their work day or focus on the other pieces of life that need to be taken care of – and there are many. Contemplating weeks without that structure and care may seem overwhelming. Please know that we are doing our very best to make decisions that will help care for all of us through this time.

What this Means for Students

Friday is the last day of school for the foreseeable future. Again, on Friday, we are allowing students to collect learning materials and personal items they might need while schools are closed. Our educators are speaking with students on Friday about this closure. 

We will provide extended learning opportunities virtually during this closure. These are not meant to be a substitute for classroom instruction but will help students practice their skills and learn independently.

We are finalizing plans to support our families during the closure in the following ways:

  • Providing meals to our students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
  • Providing childcare for our families of first-responders and healthcare workers during the closure, following the guidance of Governor Inslee.
     

Public Health Guidance

We encourage you to continue to follow existing guidelines to protect your own health. The Centers for Disease Control recommends:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds; use alcohol-based sanitizer if no water is available
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with those who are sick
  • Stay home if sick
  • Cover cough or sneeze with tissue, throw tissue in trash, wash hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched object and surfaces

Stay Connected

As part of our coronavirus response, we will be sending frequent updates with information and resources via email, text messages, the website and social media channels. We want to express our appreciation for the patience and understanding of our Dieringer community as we work through the daily challenges the coronavirus has presented us.

Thank you,

Michael Farmer
Superintendent
Dieringer School District



3/11/2020

Good evening, 

After the message sent earlier today, our team spent much of the afternoon and early evening on several conference calls. We spoke with the governor as a group of superintendents and administrators representing the Puget Sound Educational Service District or PSESD.  This group is made up of the school districts in King and Pierce Counties.

The call with the governor was productive.  Our group of school leaders was able to ask questions and share our thoughts.  The governor took that all under advisement and as of this evening, we are awaiting decisions and additional information from him. 

We expect to have that information tomorrow by 12 noon and will make an announcement shortly there after with any new information.

Thank you.


3/11/2020

Today we have seen some of the most significant developments in the coronavirus outbreak to date.  As a result we will begin taking steps immediately, as recommended by the governor and state and county health departments, for increased social distancing.  

As for our events, we are cancelling or suspending anything that can be considered a gathering.  That includes sporting events, plays, facility use by outside groups, field trips, and other events. This includes competitions today for our middle school basketball teams and the North Tapps Knowledge Bowl competition, as well as the middle school’s performance of The Monster in the Closet. Sports practices and clubs will continue for the time being. We will be suspending all volunteers in our schools while we await further guidance from the state.

You may have also seen that Seattle has announced the closure of all schools for two weeks beginning tomorrow.  The superintendents of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties have a conference call with the governor at 3:30 this afternoon to learn more about this morning's recommendation that schools should begin preparations for an extended closure.  We have been planning for a potential school closure since early last week, and are continuing this as we speak. When, and if, we have a school closure we will be in communication with you about how that impacts you and your student.  

In spite of Seattle’s closure, the governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, and numerous local health department officials have urged all schools to stay open.  As of this afternoon, Dieringer Schools will be open tomorrow.  They reiterated that students for now are better off coming to school as long as the schools have the staff to run business as usual.  Seattle’s case is based on staffing at this time, as they have so many people home for preventative reasons and others are staying home because they are actually ill. Dr. Chen from Pierce County Health reminded us this morning that the situation in Pierce County is different than that in King County.

Please be on the lookout for more information this evening after we learn more from the governor.  Thank you for your patience and understanding. We are all doing our best to stay informed, and take things day by day, or moment by moment.

Thank you,

Michael Farmer
Superintendent
Dieringer School District



3/8/2020

Over the course of the weekend, Pierce County has seen its first cases of coronavirus. One case led to the closure of Lyon Elementary School in the Tacoma School District. In light of this new information, I am sending this update to you. The health and safety of our students, staff and community continues to be our utmost priority and we are closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
 
Currently, Dieringer has no known cases of COVID-19 among students or staff.  The Pierce County Health Department is not recommending that schools proactively close or cancel events unless they have a confirmed case of COVID-19.

This afternoon I personally spoke to Dr. Anthony Chen, the Director of Health at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, about the case in Tacoma and the developing situation around our region.  We also spoke at length about Dieringer and he reiterated that he and his team want schools to stay open. He went on to say that if we have a suspected or confirmed case that Pierce County Health will work closely with us on steps to keep everyone safe.
 
As of today, we do not plan on cancelling events or activities. Our team is monitoring events very closely and we will meet tomorrow afternoon to assess the situation.  I continue to be in contact with school leaders from around the region along with officials like Dr. Chen from Pierce and King counties. We have two conference calls scheduled for tomorrow morning with local and regional leaders to stay on top of the situation.


Below are answers to your most frequently asked questions.

●  If I keep my child home from school due to concerns about the coronavirus, will the absence be excused?
Keeping your children home is a decision that is up to you.  If your child misses school due to your concerns about COVID-19, the absence will be excused.

●  How can my child make up school work?
If your child is absent from school due to illness or safety concerns, your child’s teacher can provide assignments and opportunities for learning. Please give teachers 24 hours for homework requests.

●  Will you offer online learning options if there’s a school closure?

If the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department advises us to close schools, we may offer some form of online learning.  Whatever is offered will not replace the daily instruction that occurs when children come to school but will help to ensure some level of learning can occur during a school closure.

●  If schools are cancelled due to COVID-19, will we have to make up the days?

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) expects school districts to make every effort possible to make-up any missed days lost due to the coronavirus so long as they are before June 19.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we go through this difficult time.  Please reach out to your child’s school or the district office if you have questions.


3/6/2020

Good evening,

The last two days have seen an increase in activity in how the public, local businesses, and school districts are responding to coronavirus.  You’ve likely also seen that many businesses are letting employees work from home, certain events have been canceled, and the Northshore School District has closed temporarily. We understand the concern families and staff may feel in this unpredictable time.

We are constantly monitoring this rapidly changing situation. As of this evening, Pierce County Health Department is still not recommending school closures or the canceling of events. Members of our leadership team participated in a large regional conference call yesterday and met again this morning. They discussed the current evolving situation with coronavirus and again reviewed Dieringer’s disease outbreak plan.

The health and safety of our students and staff is our utmost priority. To that end, Dieringer staff are working diligently to keep facilities clean while minimizing the impact on student learning. Teachers were provided with additional cleaning materials and Superintendent Farmer has authorized additional custodial time to ensure our buildings stay clean and disinfected.
 
We will continue to follow the recommendations of knowledgeable health professionals from the Pierce County Health Department and State Department of Health in terms of school closure and cancellation of events.  Given how rapidly the situation is evolving, please be on the lookout for further communication. As for tomorrow, Friday, March 6, schools will be open and it will be business as usual for Dieringer’s teachers and students. 

Please continue to wash your hands for at least twenty seconds, cover your cough, and avoid touching your nose and mouth.  We are still encouraging everyone to have your child stay home should they feel ill. 

 

Please use the links, at the end of the page, to access the latest information about coronavirus from local state and national sources.


3/2/2020

Good evening. 

 

With all the developments over the weekend, we wanted to provide an update about COVID-19 or Coronavirus.

Currently, Pierce County has no known cases of COVID-19, but Puget Sound public health agencies are identifying more positive cases of the disease in King County. We can expect to hear news of more people becoming ill with the virus. The risk in our region is increasing.

Dieringer School District follows guidance from the Pierce County Health Department in these types of situations. Earlier today, members of our leadership team participated in a conference call with school leaders from all across the Puget Sound region.  We also joined a second conference call with the Pierce County Health Department. Both calls provided us with information about school closures that occurred today in other school districts and the steps those districts and public agencies are taking to be prepared.

At this time, the Health Department is not recommending any school closures, additional cleaning beyond what normally occurs daily in schools, cancellation of events, or stockpiling of protective equipment.  Individuals are not encouraged to wear masks, and health officials have asked that the public not buy masks in order to leave the available supply for health care workers. Even with no recommendation for additional cleaning, our custodial staff in Dieringer will make extra efforts to clean our schools which includes washing tables, desks, door handles, and other surfaces.  

We are working closely with our public health partners to ensure we take the appropriate steps at the right time to protect our staff, students, and community.  Currently schools are open and things will continue as usual. We encourage students to come to school. If students feel ill and have a fever over 100 degrees, they should stay home until they have been fever free, or maintained a temperature below 100, for 24 hours without any medication.  If you have concerns about other medical issues with your children, the health department advises consulting with your doctor.

We can all take steps to help share accurate information about the illness and prevent its spread in our community. Our teachers will be reviewing the steps below that the Pierce County Health Department advises we take to help prevent the spread of viruses, including Coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Get more information at www.tpchd.org/coronavirusThe Health Department regularly updates this page with new information, including frequently asked questions.  Information about the Coronavirus can also be found on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.htmlMore local information is available from the state health department at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus.  The state also has a hotline you can call with questions at 1-800-525-0127.

We recognize this is a rapidly evolving situation and will continue to monitor developments locally and regionally and keep our staff, students, and community safe and informed as we learn new information.  


Important Links

https://www.tpchd.org/healthy-people/diseases/covid-19-information-for-schools

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

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