||WA Department of Health updates COVID guidelines
Recently the Washington State Department of Health updated its COVID safety guidelines for schools. Walla Walla Public Schools has implemented these new guidelines and is working diligently to ensure schools remain open and are safe despite the recent community spread. Please contact your child’s school health staff with additional questions. Visit the Walla Walla Public Schools website and click on the Safely Back to School banner at the top of the page for all of the district’s COVID safety information and materials.
New State Guidelines:
Test To Stay
• Definition: A protocol in which a student or staff member completes post-exposure testing at regular intervals in order to complete a modified quarantine, subject to local health jurisdiction Test to Stay Protocol approval.
• What changed: It is now inclusive of all staff and students, regardless of where exposure occurred. Household exposures are assessed on an individual basis.
• Definition: When someone who has COVID-19 symptoms, or has tested positive, stays home and away from others (including household members) to avoid spreading their illness.
• What changed: Isolation reduced to 5 days at home since symptom onset or positive test. Symptoms must be absent or resolving, no fever in the past 24 hours (no medication). Have a negative rapid test on or after day 5. Monitor and wear well-fitting mask for next 5 days (days 6–10).
• Definition: When someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 stays home and away from others for the recommended period of time in case they were infected and are contagious. Quarantine becomes isolation if the person later tests positive for COVID-19 or develops symptoms.
• What changed: No quarantine needed if they are asymptomatic and:
- Ages 18+ up to date with vaccines (primary series and boosters);
- Ages 5–17 completed primary series of vaccines; or
- Had confirmed COVID-19 in the last 90 days and recovered.
• Definition: The process of identifying people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and notifying these close contacts about their exposure, while protecting confidentiality, in order to provide public health guidance.
• What changed: Contact tracing in classrooms, where consistent masking is enforced, is no longer necessary.
||Virtual School Board regular business meeting & executive session
• Executive session – 1 to 4 p.m. (meeting not open to the public)
• Virtual Regular Business Meeting - Tuesday, Jan. 18 @ 5:30 p.m. (meeting open to the public via ZOOM)
• WWPS District Office (364 S. Park St.)
IMPORTANT MEETING NOTICE: After consulting with local health officials, due to the heightened rate of COVID-19 transmission currently in the region, the School Board has instructed staff to hold this meeting virtually. Members of the public are invited to attend by utilizing the following methods:
- Watch Live: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/96834711261
- Listen: Dial 1-253-215-8782 and enter the Webinar ID: 968 3471 1261
- Spanish Agenda / Agenda Español
- Citizens' Comments: Those wishing to address the Board must sign up for public comment by 12:00 noon on the day of the school board meeting, by utilzing the Google Form
||January Calendar Notes
• Friday, Jan. 14 - Early Dismissal (TK-12)
• Monday, Jan. 17 – NO SCHOOL (Martin Luther King Jr Day)
||Classified staff earn scholarships to advance bilingual education careers
Congratulations to Pioneer Middle School Intervention Specialist Javier Hernandez, Head Start Preschool Para-Educator Mayra Vargas Rodriguez and long-term Edison Elementary Substitute Cia Cortinas for receiving Maestro/a del Futuro scholarships. Each of these outstanding staff members will receive $1500 scholarships to help them prepare to become a bilingual teacher in the district. Funds for the scholarships are from a state grant supporting bilingual education.
“These scholarships provide an opportunity to ‘grow our own’ and support staff working toward certification as bilingual educators in our district,” said Human Resources Director Liz Campeau. “We are excited to see Javier, Mayra and Cia advance in their careers.”
||District teams with University of Washington to offer suicide prevention training
Asking is Caring: Practical Steps to Keep Your Teens Safe in an Emotionally Turbulent Time is a 90-minute training for parents/ caregivers. Parent/ caregivers are being recruited from the Walla Walla community to share vital information with families to help keep our community safe.
“We are looking for up to six parent/caregiver trainers who want to support these efforts in Walla Walla,” said WWPS Mental Health Specialist Kristen Duede. “Parents/caregivers who participate will get to meet other people like them who are passionate about youth mental health and suicide prevention. They will form a network to work together going forward.”
There will also be a few parents involved from the Richland School District. Trainers will attend eight hours of training with program developers out of the University of Washington during the month of February. Due to COVID, the trainings for the trainers (also know as a T4T) will take place on Zoom and will be scheduled at times that are convenient for the trainers.
Trainers will work with the school district to schedule and deliver two trainings to parents/caregivers this spring, either in person or on Zoom depending on the state of COVID.
“After they complete the two community trainings, they will also be compensated $800 for their time,” said Duede. “There is the possibility for this project to continue into the next school year with opportunities for additional compensation as well.”
If you would like more information or would like to volunteer please contact Kristen Duede, Mental Health Specialist, at email@example.com
||Pioneer MS Sources of Strength team reaches out to staff
Pioneer Middle School students Evie Sarley, Izzy Kirtley, Joseph Brown, Gianna Goff, Allison Melton and Jaykob Lopez presented Sources of Strength information to staff during a recent staff meeting.
These students are part of the school’s Sources of Strength team, which focuses on sharing suicide prevention information centered on hope and personal connections. Students organize campaigns and activities to share the message. Students discussed with staff what Sources of Strength is and why it is important to them.
They also shared what they have done to promote the program and what they plan to do for their next campaign. Staff are excited to help the students by participating in incoming campaigns.
||JROTC invited to Army National Championships
Congratulations to the Walla Walla High School Junior ROTC for being invited to the Army National Championships in Phoenix, AZ February 2-6. The Wa-Hi JROTC Sporter Class Team and our Precision Class Team received invitations.
“We qualified through a local rifle match that ranked our precision team 2nd in the Western US and 4th in the nation and our sporter team 5th in the west and 17th in the nation,” said SFC (Ret) Mark Mebes. “Nicole Hunter fired a 297 out of 300 in that match, currently ranking her as the #1 marksman in all of JROTC (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines).”
See the Walla Walla Union Bulletin article to learn more about the recent success of the JROTC program at the Washington State Junior Olympic Rifle match held in Spokane several weeks ago. Wa-Hi junior Cadet Lieutenant Tristan Scott is the Junior Olympic Washington State Men's Air RIfle Champion. The Wa-Hi Precision Rifle Team also won the state championship for the second year consecutively.
||AAUW announces annual book sale – Feb. 18-20
The 57th Annual AAUW (American Association of University Women) Book Sale will be held February 18 - 20 at the Marcus Whitman Hotel. Sale hours will be Friday and Saturday, 9 am – 7 pm; and Sunday, 9 am – 4 pm. Approximately 40,000 high-quality books, CDs and DVDs, sorted into 40 categories. Paperbacks $2.50. Hardbacks $4. Each child receives a free book from the picture or chapter book sections. Rare and collectible section priced individually. Proceeds fund scholarships for local women returning to college, and educational projects and events.
||Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association scholarships
The WSSRA has the Robert J. Handy and the WSSR Foundation scholarships available to high school seniors seeking a career in the field of education. That includes teacher, counselor, speech therapist, occupational therapist, or psychologist.
The Neil D. Prescott/Student Teaching/Internship Scholarships are for college students going to student teach during the 2022-23 school year. Candidates need to be a graduate of a Washington state high school, presently enrolled in a college of education program anywhere, and pursuing a career in a field of education.
- Applications are due March 1, 2022.
- More information and applications are available on the WSSRA website.
WWCSRA Scholarship Chair
||Parks & Rec Update
• Youth Volleyball Clinic. Open to boys and girls grades 4-8. Cost is $50.
• Fencing for Youth and Adults. Cost is $20-$75. Ages 8 and up.
• 2022 Season Pool Passes are on sale. Prices will increase again on February 1.
• The Pottery Painting Studio is open for the New Year! Hours are Thursday and Friday 4pm-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-3pm.
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com