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School Closure Information for Waitsburg SD
Mark Pickel
Tuesday, March 17, 2020

School Closure Information 

March 17, 2020

Message from the Superintendent

Dear Waitsburg School District Staff and Families:

Beginning Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, April 24, Waitsburg School District will be closed as by executive order by Governor Inslee in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This closure will include athletics, activities and clubs. We understand the disruption that this may cause for our families and employees. We will do our very best to provide what we can including updates in this ever-changing environment. Most of the information we will provide will be at the direction of the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and/or from the Governor’s office. We know this mandated closure may create hardships for many of our families and we plan to do our best to serve you during these challenging times.

As I write this message, 36 states and the territory of Puerto Rico have all followed suit in closing schools state/territory wide. This is in an effort to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus that has affected many worldwide. Waitsburg School District will continue its collaboration with county and state health officials and provide our community with updates as they become available.

We ask that you continue to check the school district web page and other social media for the latest information. We will continue to push out notifications on our mobile app as well. If you do not have our mobile app on your phone, it is available for both Apple and Android operating systems. 

Details for Waitsburg School District Closure (as of 10:30 am on March 17, 2020)

  • All school offices will be open at least through Thursday, March 18 from 7:30 am - 3:30 pm so that families can pick up personal items and clean out lockers/classroom desks. During this time families can also stop by the school offices to pick up medications.

  • The District office will be open during regular office hours (7:30 am - 3:30 pm) Tuesday, March 17 through Thursday, March 19. Office hours during the closure to be determined at a later date.

  • In person parent/teacher conferences for all grades at this time are cancelled. Conferences will be done remotely this spring via email, phone, or other electronic medium. Teachers are working to make plans to contact students and their families to identify a method to communicate for conferences. It is likely that conferences will take place in the coming weeks. 

  • As of March 13, all state assessments are cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. These include Smarter Balanced Assessments (English Language Arts and Math) for grades 3 - 8 and 10; Washington Access to Instruction and Measurement  (WA-AIM) English Language Arts and Math for grades 3 - 8 and 10; English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA-21); Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science for grades 5, , and 11; Washington Access to Instruction and Measurement (WA-AIM) for Science grades 5, 8, and 11;  WIDA Alternate ACCESS for English learners; and WaKIDS for Transitional Kindergarten. 

  • The school year will likely be extended to June 19. However, this extension may be  subject to change.

  • Students attending Running Start should have been notified by Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) of the changes that the college is making for the remainder of Winter quarter and in preparation for Spring quarter. Beginning Spring quarter, the majority, if not all WWCC courses will be conducted online. Please refer to the  WWCC web page for further information.

  • Students enrolled in classes for a) dual credit or b) College in the High School through Waitsburg High School will be given instructions by their teacher regarding those particular classes.

  • Waitsburg School District will continue to clean and sanitize all of our facilities, school buses, and other school district vehicles on a regular basis to ensure that they are clean. In addition, we will take this time to thoroughly clean all classrooms and other high traffic areas in each building.

  • Use of any school facility by anyone or any organization outside of the district is prohibited until further notice, effective immediately. This includes but is not limited to Preston Hall Middle School gym, Waitsburg High School gym and Waitsburg Elementary School Multipurpose Room.

  • As required by law, our school board will continue to meet, but we will ask those in attendance to practice social distancing.

  • For employees-more information regarding work schedules and responsibilities will be addressed through a meeting (or more if warranted) that will be conducted on Monday, March 30. We will conduct a Zoom meeting at 1:00 pm. I will send an invite to all staff.  

Meals for Students

Our nutritional services team is currently planning to make breakfast and lunch meals available for our students beginning Tuesday, March 17. We will be dropping off meals at various locations around Waitsburg. Below are times and locations where you can meet our Waitsburg School District vehicle and staff to grab a meal;

  • 202 Harmon St. 9am-9:15am

  • 705 Maple St. 9:20am-9:35am

  • Whiskey Canyon Parking Lot 9:40am-9:55am

  • High School Parking Lot 10am-10:15am

  • 900 Caroline St (side of football field) 10:20am-10:35am

  • Preston Hall Parking Lot 10:40am-10:55am

  • Catholic Church Parking Lot 11am-11:15am

  • Waitsburg Grocery Store Parking Lot 11:20am-11:35am

No forms are necessary for pick up but the child must be present when the meal is distributed.  Meals will be made available at no charge to ALL children 18 years of age and younger. We encourage students to eat at home to encourage social distancing. 

Instructional Supports

This week, teachers and administrators will learn more about the expectations around student learning by the state and how Waitsburg can support the state and the needs of our students. Staff has been busy putting together learning kits to send home with students beginning Monday, March 16. We are acutely aware that many of our students and their families do not have access to the internet (or wifi) and if they do, they may not have a device other than their smartphones. Because of this, we are looking at how we can assist those students that may need a computer and/or internet connection. In order to meet the state guidelines to make education equitable for all, each student will receive physical copies of work to take home. At this time our best guidance we can offer is to encourage reading and writing activities that would be appropriate for their age. The same holds true for mathematics. Work with your students on math facts for the younger students, access iReady online and/or Khan academy for older students in Algebra and Geometry. 

We have been instructed by the state that students are not to be on campus for any instructional activity. This includes computer labs, the ag shop, or meeting with teachers. This is in effect until which time we return to school. 


We have been told by OSPI that all graduation dates across the state will be honored. Waitsburg High School graduation is currently set for May 29, 2020. It is important for our seniors to make sure they are prepared for graduation and will be ready to work with their teachers upon returning to school in late April. That gives seniors approximately 20 school days to wrap everything up before graduation. All of the information regarding graduation is subject to change. Please refer to the district web page for continued updates.

These decisions and plans are designed to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. Waitsburg School District will continue to communicate with our local, county and state agencies to determine any future steps to be taken.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. I am very proud to be part of this community that cares so much for our students.