During the COVID-19 outbreak, ESD 113 is hosting Zoom meetings for our district superintendents every Tuesday and Friday at 7:30 am. Find meeting details & resources in our online repository.

Are school boards required to meet each month?

Yes. See RCW  28A.343.380.

Meetings.

Regular meetings of the board of directors of any school district shall be held monthly or more often at such a time as the board of directors by resolution shall determine or the bylaws of the board may prescribe. Special or deferred meetings may be held from time to time as circumstances may demand, at the call of the president, if a first-class district, or the chair of the board, if a second-class district, or on petition of a majority of the members of the board. All meetings shall be open to the public unless the board shall otherwise order an executive session as provided in RCW  42.30.110.

Can we hold our meetings virtually rather than face to face?

Yes. For greater details, please read this opinion letter provide by the State Attorney General. Essentially, as long as your provide space for the public to access your meetings (live streaming?) and a space for public comment (chat?), you can convene your meetings entirely online.

Yes. All governing members can participate by phone. While not required by the OPMA, it may be a good idea to note on the agenda that the members are participating by phone.

If a governing body has a policy about when it will permit telephone participation by its members, it may need to review that policy.

Should we adopt a resolution allowing us to meet online rather than face to face?

Yes. For a sample resolution provided by WSSDA allowing the superintendent to temporarily suspend portions of board adopted policy and allow for meetings to be convened online, please review and modify this resolution document.

Grays Harbor 

Lisa Leitz RN, Communicable Disease Program Coordinator
(360) 500-4044


Lewis County

Donna Muller RN, Communicable Disease Nurse
(360) 740-1236


Mason County

Audrey O’Connor RN, Communicable Disease Public Health Nurse
(360) 427-9670 x 274

Dave Windom, Director, Mason County Public Health
(360) 427-9670 x 260


Pacific County

Lori Ashley, Communicable Disease Nurse
(360) 875-9300 x 2647

Leah Heintz, Communicable Disease Nurse
(360) 875-9300 x 2646


Thurston County

Please call main line and be sure to identify yourself as calling from a school:
(360) 867-2500

Make a list of audiences who need to hear from you on a regular basis so you don't leave anyone out.

Carefully consider the order in which you share information. It should be centered on the reader's needs, focusing on connecting as humans. Be forthright and compassionate.

Don't report the news. Statistics can be upsetting. Pandemics unfold quickly, so they're constantly changing anyway. Point people to a reputable source, like the CDC’s page on Coronavirus

Decide how often you will communicate with your community. Your communications should include three things:

  1. What you know
  2. What you don’t know
  3. What you are doing to get more information

Be sure that you are listening to your community, too. Set up a way for them to ask questions. Consider taking those questions and creating an online FAQ that you keep updated as you get new information.

Words matter. When communicating about COVID-19, use inclusive language and less stigmatizing terminology. Here's a list of DOs and DON'Ts that can help you decide what to say.

The World Health Organization has created evidence-based, field-tested communication guidance in the event of an outbreak:

Trust

The key principle of outbreak communication is to communicate in ways that build, maintain or restore trust between the public and outbreak managers. Without this trust, the public will not believe, or act on, the health information that is communicated by health authorities during an outbreak.

Announcing early

Proactive communication of a real or potential health risk is crucial in alerting those affected and minimizing an infectious disease threat. Announcing early — even with incomplete information — pre-vents rumors and misinformation. The longer officials withhold information, the more frightening the information will seem when it is eventually revealed, especially if it is revealed by an outside source. Late announcement will erode trust in the ability of public health authorities to manage the outbreak.

Transparency

Maintaining the public’s trust throughout an outbreak requires ongoing transparency, including timely and complete information of a real or potential risk and its management. As new developments occur over the course of an outbreak they should be communicated proactively. Transparency should characterize the relationship between the outbreak managers, the public and partners as it promotes improved information gathering, risk assessment and decision-making processes associated with outbreak control.

Listening

Understanding the public’s risk perceptions, views and concerns is critical to effective communication and the broader emergency management function it supports. Without knowing how people understand and perceive a given risk and what their existing beliefs and practices are, decisions and required behavior changes necessary to protect health may not occur and societal or economic disruption may be more severe.

Planning

Public communication during an outbreak represents an enormous challenge for any public health authority and therefore demands sound planning, in advance, to adhere to the principles described above. Planning is an important principle, but more importantly, it must translate into action.


  • The Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the best sources of information.
  • Washing your hands is your best protection against getting sick.
  • School closures are not recommended unless there is a confirmed case in the school. Widespread school closures are only likely when the Washington State Department of Health determines a threshold of infection has been reached. Generally, be prepared to follow local health official directions.