Superintendent video update Sept. 10

Superintendent video update Sept. 10
Posted on 09/10/2020
Dear Tahoma families and staff,

Superintendent Mike Hanson filmed this video update to offer information about monitoring COVID-19 infection rates in King County in order to return to buildings in a hybrid model.

In the video, Mr. Hanson refers to the decision tree created by the Washington State Department of Health to help school districts determine whether and when to return to in-person learning. To view the decision tree, click on this link and scroll to page 5:

The transcript of the video is below, on this page.

Thank you,
Tahoma Communications Office


Hi Tahoma families, it’s Mike Hanson checking back in with you. Want to start by giving a shout out to all of our teachers, our amazing staff and also to our resilient families and kids for the amazing start to the year. It truly has been better than we anticipated. We’re so thankful for all the hard work the staff has put in, the families have put in and of course, our students have put in. So keep it up guys!

Also wanted to check in with folks, one of the questions, not surprisingly, that we continue to get pretty frequently is when are we going back to the buildings. I want to explain to you what it’s going to take to get back. And our main tool that we use for determining whether or not and when we can go back into schools is a decision tree that was developed by the state Department of Health. The Decision Tree looks at the activity levels of COVID infection rates within your county. With those, it has three different levels. If the infection rate is 75 per 100,000 or higher over 14 days you’re in the high mode; if it’s 25 to 75 you’re in the middle mode or moderate mode; and if it’s below 25 you’re in the low mode. 

When you’re in the high mode the recommendation is only those furthest from educational justice are back in the building. That’s the mode we’ve been in for quite some time now. When it’s in that moderate mode, or the middle mode, that’s when we can begin exploring potentially bringing back our elementary students. Right now we’ve been in the high mode for quite a while. But, over the last week, we’ve actually dipped down below 75. I looked it up before I got on screen here, and on the Washington Risk Assessment dashboard online, you can check activity levels for each county and for King County today it was at 71.1. So, over the last week we’ve actually been below 75. 

When it gets this low one of the things that happens is we start coordinating with Public Health -- Seattle and King County. Just yesterday, area superintendents met with the folks from public health to have a discussion about where we’re at and what should happen moving forward. The folks from public health are advising us that we’re going to monitor it over the next couple of weeks to see if these levels remain steady or if they increase or decrease. Now if they were to increase and take us back out of that moderate range, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. But if we can keep them steady, there’s a chance we can come back to school for elementary kids, in probably another month or so. 

Again, not trying to get people too excited about something that may or may not happen, but providing information about where we’re at. So, as we move forward one of the pieces as a school system that we want to make sure we’re prepared for is which of our families are interested if we’re able to come back, in coming back, and which ones would want to stay remote. So look for that information coming out to you really soon.

Again, what we’re talking about is when we’re in the 25 to 75 range, starting with elementary kids coming back. Let me be clear. I don’t want to build up some anticipation that we are coming back. But also want to provide you with the information so you are aware of what’s happening with the COVID activity rates in our county and what we’re doing as a school system to prepare. I encourage you to reach out and understand the decision tree better and there are lots of principals and us up here who would love to talk to you about it. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Thank you.

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