COVID Health & Safety
The state vaccine requirement for school staff, volunteers, and indoor contractors remains in place.
Family members may volunteer at school if they meet the current Covid-19 vaccination requirements.
Interns (i.e., teacher, social worker) will follow Human Resources procedures and must meet the current Covid-19 vaccination requirements.
- Mask Wearing
- Accommodations for Student's with Disabilities
- School Buses and Transportation
- Sporting or Extracurricular Events
Students, staff and visitors will have the choice to wear a mask at school and/or at provider settings, with the expectation that others’ choices will be respected. Some may need to wear a mask because they or a member of their household is at high risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
Students, staff, and visitors who are immunocompromised, medically fragile, and/or otherwise at high risk for severe disease should consult their health care provider about whether or not to continue wearing well-fitted masks.
While masks are no longer universally required in schools or provider settings, PPE is required in Care Spaces and nurse clinics. Additionally, there will be situations when the use of well-fitting masks indoors may be temporarily required for individuals by the Department of Health and/or local public health.
Masks may also be required universally during outbreaks in classrooms or with groups (e.g., a choir class or a sports team) to limit disease transmission and ensure in-person instruction and care.
Masks may also be required when COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH, as indicated by local public health. Any official direction or decisions about required masking will come from central office leadership.
Students and staff who are immunocompromised, medically fragile, and/or otherwise at high risk for severe disease should consult their health care provider about whether or not to continue wearing well-fitted masks.
Staff who serve students with disabilities who require close contact should strongly consider wearing appropriate PPE when providing care. In addition, schools should leverage recommended mitigation measures in meeting the needs of their high-risk populations, following all existing state and federal guidance in doing so.
The district will provide masks and other appropriate PPE to staff, students and visitors as needed or desired.
Physical distancing and masking are no longer required for bus transportation. Staff are encouraged to leave windows open to air out the bus after runs and clean as needed, but are asked by the Department of Health to refrain from fogging or misting the bus with disinfectant.
Students and staff are encouraged to maintain strong hand washing and sanitizing etiquette both before and after boarding a bus.
Any mask requirements or recommendations in schools extend to school buses.
In general, masks will not be universally required during activities such as PE and/or athletics. Well-fitting masks may be temporarily required for individuals by DOH and/or local public health in some situations.
Masks may also be universally required during outbreaks in classrooms or with groups of students (e.g., a choir class or a sports team) to limit disease transmission and ensure in-person instruction and care, as well as during high aerosol activities (band, choir, etc.).
There are no physical distancing requirements at this time.
Sanitizing stations will continue to be available in all hallways. These may include disinfectant wipes, antibacterial hand soap and hand sanitizer.
Adult and child disposable masks will also be available.
Assistance will be provided to students with disabilities who may need help with handwashing and respiratory etiquette behaviors.
Students are encouraged to wash hands upon entry into the classroom or other learning spaces. Schools should teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence among students and staff.
- The sharing of equipment will be reduced as much as possible.
- For shared instruments, students should have their own mouthpieces and allow the instrument to sit for 24 hours between uses.
- Schools will maximize ventilation of the space as much as possible. If a space is smaller and/or not well-ventilated, schools will supplement with portable HEPA air cleaners.
Highline Public Schools meets or exceeds the Department of Health ventilation guidance, and will build on these basic requirements.
Highline Public Schools will continue to:
- Change filters as needed (clogged filters decrease HVAC operation, stress the fan motors, and decrease ability to improve indoor air quality). Visually check the filter for a tight fit within the frame and ensure there are no rips or tears.
- Inspect and clean the entire system at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer or installer. Make repairs quickly to prevent more serious issues.
- Reduce recirculation of air; increase/maximize outside air.
- Increase filtration to the highest level possible. MERV 13 is recommended, if possible.
- Bring in outside air continuously two hours prior to occupancy and for two hours after occupancy, including while cleaning and disinfection is occurring.
- Inspect and maintain local exhaust ventilation in restrooms, kitchens, cooking areas, labs, etc. Increase exhaust ventilation from restrooms above code minimums.
- Work with a building engineer or HVAC specialist to generate air movement that goes from clean-to-less-clean air.
- Refrain from using ozone generators, electrostatic precipitators and ionizers, or negative ion air purifiers because they can produce harmful by-products. Portable HEPA air cleaners can supplement ventilation and are most critical in rooms with poorer ventilation or in isolation areas.
As of January 2021, Highline Public Schools replaced all filters, and the air handling units are set to industry standards. Air units allow four complete air exchanges in the building every hour, which is in compliance with industry standards. In efforts to go beyond this standard, HPS started the process of reprogramming air handling systems to increase airflow to five exchanges per hour, which will allow outside air to enter the building every 8-10 minutes, rather than every 15 minutes.
Operable windows may be opened for additional circulation; however, all doors leading into a hallway are to remain closed, as per fire and life safety code. While our HVAC/filtration systems currently meet the standards set forth by the CDC and Department of Health, Highline Public Schools continue to test airflow and filtration systems regularly.
The CDC recommends fresh air supply of 20 cubic feet per minute (cfm) per person. The CDC standard assumes 25-30 students in a 980 square foot classroom. Highline meets this standard in all buildings.
In addition, Highline Public Schools has worked with McKinstry to develop a detailed Investment Grade Audit (IGA) of HVAC upgrades to improve ventilation airflow and Indoor Air Quality in classrooms. The following schools have been selected for the HVAC Upgrade Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund(ESSER) Funding Project:
- Beverly Park Elementary School
- Big Picture High School (Manhattan site)
- New Start High School (Salmon Creek site)
- Sylvester Middle School
- Valley View Early learning Center
Updates are scheduled to be completed in September/October 2022.
The main focus at these buildings is to improve classroom ventilation and comfort by replacing aged unit ventilators, installing new steam lines, and upgrading electrical infrastructure to accommodate the new equipment electrical requirement. Classrooms that do not meet air quality recommendations are equipped with portable air filtration machines.
- How often are the filters in air exchange units changed or cleaned?
- Some older HVAC systems have metal filters. How are those maintained?
- How was air exchange measured in classrooms?
- How are air exchange requirements calculated?
- Do you have a ventilation question that is not answered here?
- Measure length and width of the classroom to get square footage (L x W = SF)
- Multiply the height of the classroom by the square footage to get the cubic footage (L x W x H = CF)
- Multiply the room's cubic feet by 4, which is the minimum ASHRAE* standard for the number of air exchanges (AE) per hour in a classroom (CF x 4 = AE)
- Divide the air exchange result by 60 (minutes in an hour) to determine the minimum cubic foot per minute (CFM) we need to meet the ASHRAE standard.
- Room size: 30 x 30 = 900 SF
- 900 SF X 8 foot ceiling = 7,200 CF
- 7,200 X 4 (air exchanges per hour) = 28,800 CF to meet the standard of air blowing in per hour
- 28,800 CF divided by 60 = 480 CFM to determine the minimum CFM we need to come out from the vent
- We use an anemometer to measure the CFM coming out of the vents in the room.
- We compare this number to the minimum ASHREA requirement.
* American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
Our COVID Dashboard shows all reported staff and student cases, starting January 1, 2021.