Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 14, 2021

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District Stories
WA State Health Department says new CDC relaxed mask guidelines don’t apply to schools; State Superintendent says schools will be open to in-person learning for all students this fall

Thursday the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released modest revisions to current COVID guidelines for schools effective this summer. No changes to current safety protocols have been made to current school year operations. Meanwhile, relaxed masking guidelines were released this week by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). While the CDC announced this week fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing in most cases, DOH affirms this guidance does not apply to schools in Washington State.

Walla Walla Public Schools officials have fielded calls and emails from parents, students and stakeholders seeking clarification. According to the release from the DOH yesterday, all students, school personnel, volunteers, and visitors must wear at least a cloth face covering or an acceptable alternative when indoors, as well as outdoors where a minimum of six feet distancing cannot be maintained. The DOH position states private and public schools must continue to follow existing guidance for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, which means wearing mask indoors and outside while on school grounds and involved in school activities.

Below: See yesterday’s complete press release from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the press release from State Superintendent Reykdal on plans for returning to school this fall.

Department of Health releases updated K-12 school guidance
For immediate release: May 13, 2021
Contact: Ginny Streeter, Communications, 360-810-1628

OLYMPIA – Today, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released guidance for the 2021 summer school session and 2021-2022 school year. Under the updated guidance, schools must plan to provide full time in-person education for all interested students for the 2021-2022 school year with the following mitigation efforts:
• All students, school personnel, volunteers, and visitors must wear at least a cloth face covering or an acceptable alternative when indoors, as well as outdoors where a minimum of six feet distancing cannot be maintained.
• Schools must have basic ventilation, cleaning and infection control plans updated to reflect what is currently known about COVID-19.
• In preparation for the potential of COVID-19 infections while at school, schools must have a response plan in place that includes communication with staff, families, their school district, and local health jurisdiction.
• Schools should prepare to provide instruction for students who are excluded from school due to illness or quarantine.
• Physical distancing of at least three feet or more between students in classroom settings and at least six feet or more in most situations outside of the classroom to the degree possible is recommended. However, physical distancing recommendations should not prevent a school from offering full-time, in person learning to all students/families in the fall.
• While COVID-19 testing programs and vaccinations are not required for providing in-person learning, these measures can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools and the broader community.

“Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being. They provide children with academic instruction, support for developing social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition and more,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “We are releasing this guidance early to give the schools districts in Washington the opportunity to put plans in place for a safe and successful 2021-2022 school year.”

In addition to mandatory mitigation efforts that schools must put in place, schools will need to follow all relevant Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery guidance with regards to extracurricular activities. This includes sporting activities, overnight camps, performing artsand special events.

DOH will continue to monitor the science, disease burden, and uptake of vaccination and periodically update the guidance accordingly. Private and Public Schools must continue to follow existing guidance for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.


May 13, 2021 - Reykdal: We are Returning to School Buildings Next Year
Today, the Washington State Department of Health launched their COVID-19 health and safety guidance for K–12 schools in summer 2021 and the 2021–22 school year. Below is State Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s statement on plans for school in fall 2021.

OLYMPIA—May 13, 2021—Our students will be learning from their school buildings full-time in the upcoming school year. Students may choose to enroll in a remote learning program, but school districts may not offer hybrid or remote learning to the exclusion of full-time, in-person learning for any student who seeks that option. Most students are more successful in a comprehensive, in-person learning environment surrounded by their peers and caring adults. Extended time in remote and hybrid learning has had negative impacts on many of our students’ mental and behavioral health, as well as their engagement with and success in school.

We also know our schools can safely serve their students with more widespread vaccinations and by following the mandatory health and safety mitigation measures, including face coverings, hand hygiene, ventilation, cleaning and disinfecting, and processes for responding to and reporting cases of COVID-19.

Today, the state Department of Health (DOH) released health and safety guidance for K–12 schools for summer 2021 and the 2021–22 school year. The guidance makes clear that school districts must continue following the non-pharmaceutical mitigation measures above, but there is new flexibility regarding physical distancing in schools. In the guidance, DOH recommends 3 feet of physical distancing in classrooms and 6 feet in other school spaces to the greatest extent possible. This is not a mandate, and the flexibility ensures schools can offer a full-time in-person experience to every student and family who wants one.

As school districts plan for large-scale reopening of their buildings this fall, I strongly encourage eligible students, their families, and school staff to get vaccinated before returning to school buildings. Though the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was just approved for youth ages 12 and above, the vaccine will not be mandatory for eligible students or for staff this school year. Immunization requirements, which are set by the State Board of Health, take time to review, approve, and implement – and we are far away from that happening.

Widespread vaccinations, combined with the mandatory non-pharmaceutical mitigation measures, further reduces the risk of virus transmission within the school community.

I am looking forward to the opportunity for all students who want to learn in-person full-time next year, to return to our buildings full-time. We have outstanding public schools and passionate educators; our road to a full recovery continues!


Student Advisory Council seeks feedback on potential new adult/life preparatory course for high school students

The Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SAC) has prioritized the need for the district to develop an “Adult/Life Preparatory” course/curriculum to help better prepare graduates for life beyond high school, regardless if a student is college, career or service bound.

The SAC invites current and former high school students, parents, school staff, higher education faculty, and the business community to participate in their feedback survey to help refine and prioritize topics that a proposed course/experience should address. The survey closes Friday, May 21.

SURVEY LINK - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5QLM75P

“Greater exposure to areas such as personal finance, job readiness, mental well-being, lifetime wellness, social media etiquette and more were all identified by council members,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith, who formed the 14 member council this school year. “The adult/life course proposal is one of the council’s top two initiatives that they are deeply exploring to help improve the experience for current and future Walla Walla Public Schools’ students.”

Consisting of a broad representation of high school aged students, the advisory council meets regularly to intentionally seek out and respond to the specific needs of Walla Walla Public Schools’ students. “Now, more than ever, student voice at the district table is critical as we respond to the pandemic and seek out ways to reimagine and improve our schools to better support students,” according to Superintendent Smith.

To learn more about the Superintendent Student Advisory Council, click here:

School Nurse Day - May 12

Championing the Whole Student-Honoring WWPS Nursing Staff

National School Nurse Day was May 12. School nurses champion the whole student every day of the year, but this has never been more evident than during the 2020-2021 school year. Since the pandemic began impacting schools last spring, Walla Walla Public Schools’ health services staff ensure safety protocols are in place, personal protective equipment is available and that our schools implement all of the necessary procedures to ensure campuses remain safe for students and faculty.

“Our nursing staff have served critical in keeping everyone safe since the pandemic struck last March,” notes Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “We are so thankful our community continues to support these essential staff, paid for almost entirely out of school levy resources approved by voters.”

“People look to their health services team as the experts to provide guidance and recommendations,” said Amy Ruff, Director of Health Services. “We have been at the front lines from the start.”

Health services staff educate teachers when they have questions about COVID or have concerns about the wellness of a child.

“We are there to evaluate them to determine if they need to stay at school or go home,” said Ruff. “We conduct contact tracing functions at the school and partner with our county health department and provide onsite testing for students and faculty.” Health Services staff have performed more than 500 rapid tests for COVID-19 as part of a WWPS robust school testing program.

“In addition to physical health matters, keeping immunizations up to date, and supporting many critical student health conditions, we are also very cognizant of kids’ social emotional needs,“ said Ruff. “Very often physical ailments in students can be influenced by stress or other emotional needs, and we partner with school counseling staff to provide the necessary wraparound services.”

Health Services staff members include:
• Amy Ruff, RN Health Services Director
• Vickie Rogers, RN at Wa-Hi, Lincoln, SEATech and Opportunity
• Lynn Porter Bingham, RN at Pioneer, Edison and Green Park
• Nancy Montgomery, RN at Berney
• Amanda Hinrichs, RN at Prospect Point, Sharpstein & WWCCF
• Sonia Soto, HRA at Wa-Hi
• Sara Huxoll, HRA at Garrison MS
• Oscar Brito, HRA at Pioneer MS
• Stephanie Edwards, HRA at Prospect Point
• Lori Grimes, HRA at Sharpstein
• Giessell Martinez, HRA at WWCCF
• Fabiola Salgado, HRA at Edison
• Edgar Salgado, HRA at Green Park

Since 1972, National School Nurse Day has been set aside to recognize school nurses. National School Nurse Day was established to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in the educational setting. This year, building on the increased visibility of nurses’ contributions National Nurses’ Week has been expanded to Nurses Month in May.

School Board Regular Business Meeting

• Tuesday, May 18
• 5:30 p.m.
• Edison Elementary (1315 E. Alder St.)
• Meeting open to the public

IMPORTANT MEETING NOTICE: The board of directors will be meeting in person for its scheduled regular meetings per the Governor’s Phase 3 guidance. Members of the public who wish to attend the meeting may utilize the following methods:
- In Person: Pre-registration is required. Please visit the district’s website for registration details: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule
- Watch: https://www.youtube.com/user/wwpublicschools
Spanish Agenda / Agenda Español: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule

Park Street improvement project update

The road improvement project on Park Street ramped up this week limiting access to the district office parking lot through August. Use the Palouse Street entrance for conducting business at the district office during construction. Please drive carefully near Sharpstein Elementary as the project is also impacting traffic near the school, especially during drop-off and pick-up hours. Together we can keep everyone safe.

Summer Sol registration Now Open

Summer Sol registration is now open for summer programming. Summer Sol is Walla Walla Public Schools’ FREE summer program open to all WWPS students, grades K-12. The program provides access to additional learning opportunities, fun and engaging hands-on projects and activities, and free access to select community partner programs. Transportation and meals provided. To register for the program, go to:


Paper copies of the registration form will also be available in the main office of your child’s school. For more information on the program, visit summersol.org or call (509) 526-6787.

Summer Sol – “It’s a VIBE!”

WW Dept. of Health Weekly COVID Dashboard Report

COVID Activity Report timeline: April 24, 2021 to May 7, 2021

Every Monday, Walla Walla Public Schools posts the Walla Walla Department of Community Health’s COVID-19 Activity Report. This report, provided weekly to regional school districts, is what the Walla Walla Board of Directors has used to guide school reopening. This week’s report reveals local COVID rates decreased from the previous reporting period. There are 55 cases combined between Walla Walla and College Place over the last two weeks. There were 75 cases combined during the last reporting period. Washington DOH reports the Positivity Rate for the previous 7 days is 1.5%.

School Stories
Students flood to Wa-Hi vaccine clinic; more clinics planned next week

Walla Walla Public Schools, in partnership with WW County Department of Community Health, conducted a vaccine clinic at Walla Walla High School today. Parent consent was required for all students under 18. More than 200 students are expected to get their first shot today. Students under 18 received the two shot Pfizer vaccine. Students over 18 and adults were offered the one shot Johnson & Johnson option if they preferred it.

Next week the district will offer middle school and Lincoln HS vaccine clinics.


Lincoln High School
• May 20
• 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. (noon)
• Anyone age 12+
• Pfizer 2 shot series for 12+
• J & J 1 shot series for 18 + (if desired)
• Consent required if under 18 (consent form at school and on website)
• Walk-ins accepted but registration is preferred
• 2nd shot clinic June 10, 2021, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (noon)

Garrison Middle School
• May 21
• 1 – 3 p.m. (in the Gym)
• Anyone age 12+
• Pfizer 2 shot series for 12+
• J & J 1 shot series for 18+ (if desired)
• Consent required if under 18 (consent form at school and on website)
• Walk-ins accepted but registration is preferred
• 2nd shot clinic June 11 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Pioneer Middle School
• May 21
• 9 to 11 a.m. (in the Big Tent)
• Anyone age 12+
• Pfizer 2 shot series for 12+
• J & J 1 shot series for 18 + (if desired)
• Consent required if under 18 (consent form at school and on website)
• Walk-ins accepted but registration is preferred
• 2nd shot clinic June 11, 9 to 11 a.m.

Class of 2021 Graduation Ceremonies (WW Fairgrounds)

Lincoln High School Graduation
• Thursday, June 10
• 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• Walla Walla County Fairgrounds (Southwest grass lot near three large trees west of VIP building)
• Principal Marci Knauf – mknauft@wwps.org

Walla Walla High School Commencement
• Friday, June 11
• 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Walla Walla County Fairgrounds Grandstands
• Principal Ron Higgins – rhiggins@wwps.org

Opportunity Program Graduation
• Tuesday, June 15
• 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Walla Walla County Fairgrounds (Pepsi Stage)
• Director Tom Porter – tporter@wwps.org

NOTE: All ceremonies will be LIVE Streamed by Blue Devil Northwest

District plans Virtual ParentCamp event 

• Thursday, May 20
• Event features a discussion with author Diana Graber about digital literacy through her book “Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology.”
• Learn more about Graber and her work in digital literacy by visiting the following site:
• Register at www.bit.ly/parentcampww
• Questions: Contact Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton – pclayton@wwps.org

Community Stories
FREE airplane rides for youth 8-17

• Young Eagles Flight Day
• FREE flights for youth 8-17
• Saturday, June 5
• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• 219 Martin Field Lane - Walla Walla, WA 99362
• Event also includes toy airplanes, static displays and food trucks
• Masks required
• Online registration at https://yeday.org/ or Day-of registration in-person beginning at 8 a.m.

The Blue Mountain Baseball League, formerly known as Babe Ruth Baseball, is back

The 2020 season was lost to COVID-19, but the league — open to players ages 12 to 16-years-old — will resume play this year, starting this month. Registrations are now being taken.

The first practice is set for May 24 at Howard Tietan Park with the first games starting June 7. The season will run through July 16, when the city championship game will be played. Games and practices will take place on weekdays, with no play on Saturday or Sunday. Each team will play about 20 games at various locations, including Howard Tietan Park, Walla Walla Community College and Borleske Stadium.

There will be no tryouts this season. Instead, players will be placed on teams according to age, skill and school. The league is run through the city of Walla Walla’s Parks and Recreation Department. To register go to the city’s website, wallawallawa.gov, and then to the Parks and Recreation link (bit.ly/335izcY) or go in person to the Parks and Recreation office at 55 E. Moore St.

For more information or questions contact Clay Lindsey at clindsey@wallawallawa.gov or call 509-527-4527.

Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Update

Registration for summer programs are open!
• Blue Mountain Boys Baseball – Grades 6-10. Cost is $60.
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Grades K-8. Cost is $30-$40.
• Blue Mountain Pre Tee Ball – Ages 3-5 years. Cost is $40.
• Lifeguard Re-Certification – Ages 15 and up. Cost is $85.
• Symbol Quest – Interactive journey for all ages to discover the stories etched in stone throughout Mt View Cemetery – Cost is $20-$30 (customer hoodie included).
• T’ai Chi – Classes open to Ages 12 and up. Cost is $48.
• Youth Fencing – Beginning Classes for ages 8-18. Cost is $60. Equipment provided.
• Adult Fencing – Classes for ages 18 and up. Cost is $75. Equipment provided.
• Ukulele Class - Ages 12 and up. Cost is $65.
• Swimming Lessons – Ages 3 months and up. Cost is $35.
• Sea Monkeys Swim Team – Ages 6-16 years. Cost is $85.
• Discover Scuba – Ages 12 and up. Cost is $60.
• Lap Swim 101 – Ages 17 and up. Cost is $35.
• Sweat & Swim Boot Camp – Ages 16 and up. Cost is $40.
• Fall Youth Soccer League – Grades K-8. Cost is $60.
• Hatha Yoga – All ages. Cost is $60.
• NFL Flag Football – Grades K-8. Cost is $50.
• Pickleball For Youth – Ages 10-16 years. Cost is $60.
• Pickleball For All – Ages 16 and up. Cost is $45.
• Walla Walla Soccer Alliance Skills Clinic – Ages 5-10 years. Cost is $30-$50.
• UPlay Summer Camp – 10am – 3pm, Monday – Friday. Free for ages 7-12 years.
• Cornhole Throwdown Tournament – July 24 Ages 12 and up. Cost is $50/team.
• All Comers Track Meet – Ages 1-12 years. Cost is $3.

Veterans Memorial Pool Passes – Phase 3 allows for the pool to operate as normal while maintaining social distancing. THIS MEANS THERE WILL BE OPEN SWIM!! Pass prices Youth/Senior/Veteran $75 Adult $88 Family $180.

NEW – Parks and Recreation App! Easy access to game schedules, program registration and more! Download it from your App Store/Google Play Store - Walla Walla Parks and Rec
In need of financial assistance to help with youth program costs? We have simplified the youth scholarship application process for 2021, thanks to private community donations we are able to help with 75% of the program cost! Call 527-4527 or email recreation@wallawallawa.gov us to request a scholarship for your child(ren). The only requirement is that you establish an online account so that we have a place to apply the scholarship.
Pottery Studio is OPEN! Thursday/Friday 2pm-5:30pm and Saturday 10am-12:30pm.

Looking for work? We are hiring Ambassadors! This position will provide extensive customer service to citizens and visitors downtown. $13.69/hr.

Please visit our website at www.wwpr.us for updated information regarding recreation programs as it becomes available. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Parks & Recreation Office at 509-527-4527

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