How Shoreline Schools are responding to the COVID-19 Omicron surge

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Susana Reyes, Superintendent Shoreline Schools
Photo courtesy Shoreline Schools
Dr. Susana Reyes, Superintendent of the Shoreline School District, sent this message to school families, updating them on Shoreline's current pandemic response.

COVID-19 Update from Superintendent Reyes

It has been great to see students and staff back from winter break with learning in full swing. At the same time, we know that the evolving situation with COVID and the latest Omicron variant has added stress and anxiety for our families and staff. 

In this communication, we will provide updates and information about how we are responding to needs presented by our current situation.

COVID information

The Omicron variant is highly contagious and just like other school districts in the state and nation, we have been experiencing an increase in the number of cases in our schools. The most important thing we all can do to keep this from spreading further is to stay home if experiencing any symptoms.

Additional ways we can all help support the health and safety of students and staff include:
  • Get vaccinated, including a booster shot if eligible
  • Wear masks properly
  • Maintain a physical distance from others
  • Avoid large gatherings
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly

It will take all of us working together to keep our schools and community healthy.

North City Testing Site

Our testing site at the North City Elementary campus, 816 NE 190th St. is open on school days from 11:00am to 3:00pm for students and staff. Preregistration and scheduling is required and can be completed here. Testing at this site is free and only available to students and staff at this time. You can learn more here.

How is the District responding to staffing impacts as a result of increasing COVID-related absences?

Currently, the Department of Health (DOH), Public Health Seattle-King County (PHSKC), and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) support and are strongly encouraging the continuation of in-person learning for the well-being of students and their families.

The decision to temporarily close a school or classroom will be based on either the direction of PHSKC and the DOH in response to health and safety concerns or the District’s ability to have enough staff to be able to operate safely. 

We will work through each situation individually (classroom or school) and communicate with families as quickly as possible about any need for temporary closure or temporary shift to remote learning. We are not anticipating a district-wide closure at this time.

During the last two weeks, we have experienced high absence rates among staff and students. We also continue to see a shortage of substitute teachers and substitute support staff. 

We anticipate that absences will remain high over the next couple of weeks, but our priority is to keep schools open as long as we can provide staff to operate safely. We are extremely grateful to our amazing staff in our schools and district office who are pulling together to keep our schools open. 

We have a process for meeting the challenges of the next few weeks so we can keep our schools open for in-person learning. This includes deploying district office staff to schools as needed.

As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, we will track positive cases and follow the guidance and direction of Public Health for responding, which may include temporarily closing classrooms or schools if necessary. 

As a district, we have done a great job with maintaining our schools’ health and safety, and we know our staff, students, and families have played a huge role in helping us to remain open by being mindful and following safety protocols. 

In addition to the established layers of protection in our school environments, such as masking and physical distancing, many of our students ages five and older are now fully vaccinated. All of these layers of protection, together, provide for a safe environment for students and staff. Working together, we will continue to keep our students and staff safe in our schools.

Visitors and Volunteers

Over the past several weeks, we have received questions about our plan for reintroducing volunteers and visitors in schools. Please know that we absolutely appreciate and value the incredible support this provides for our staff and students. Not only does it help ease the load for our staff, it also builds community and trust. This is what makes our community special, and we look forward to when we can return to more normal times. 

For now, because of the rise in cases and to minimize any additional increase, we are postponing allowing visitors and volunteers in our schools and campuses. We will reassess at the beginning of February when we hope to have worked through the current challenge. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We truly appreciate it!

Thank you for your continued partnership in supporting the health and well-being of our students and staff. I am honored to serve you, our children and youth, and our community. Together, we will get through this.

Stay safe and be well,
Dr. Susana Reyes


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