Mercer Island schools to close beginning March 13

The closure could extend to five to six weeks.

Mercer Island School District (MISD) will be closed beginning March 13.

The district has been following guidance from Public Health — Seattle & King County in an effort to stay open as long as possible, the district stated in a release.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced new community strategies to minimize COVID-19 exposure. Specifically, the governor has prohibited non-essential events with more than 250 people that take place in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. This order applies to gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational activities. Inslee explicitly stated that this guidance did not include schools at this time.

“Several of our neighboring districts are struggling to stay operational because of staffing shortages and so have made the difficult decision to close this week. Many of our staff have children who attend schools in those districts, and we expect those closures to impact our ability to staff our schools,” MISD said in the release.

According to the release, March 12 will be a regular school day. Students should collect and bring home learning materials that they might need as well as any personal items they might want while schools are closed.

Based on recent conversations with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the governor’s office, the duration of this closure is uncertain but could extend for five to six weeks.

“The community can expect ongoing communication from the district during this closure,” the district stated in the release.

The district office will remain open to the public. Food service lunches will be provided to students receiving meal assistance.

“We are not currently planning to replace or supplant core instruction with online learning but rather will provide supplemental activities that are designed to provide students and parents with opportunities to extend learning beyond the classroom,” the release states.

More information about these supplemental learning opportunities will be shared in the coming days.

“I am so very proud and appreciative of our staff and their continued support of our students through coming to school and providing teaching and learning during this unsettled time,” MISD Superintendent Donna Colosky said in the release. “They have shown themselves to be leaders and have embodied our vision that here, at MISD, students are the priority.”