Flags lowered to half-staff April 10

Flags at half-staff outside Avanti HS building

Gov. Jay Inslee directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agencies, including schools and support buildings, be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, April 10, 2021 in memory of Bainbridge Island Police Officer Kurt Enget, 49.

Officer Enget died in the line of duty on April 10, 2020.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on April 10 or first thing Monday morning, April 12.

A memorial service will be held at Gateway Fellowship in the city of Poulsbo on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

New version of Return to Work Safety Plan posted on website

Grouping of surgical blue masks

Read the latest version (Version 5.0) of the OSD COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan. The most current version of the plan is posted on the staff Intranet and on the district website. Be sure to bookmark the link above for easy access. For those who prefer to visit the webpages where it is posted, the plan is shared in the following locations:

The latest update to the plan is:

  • Pages 13-14: These two pages have been updated to include the newest flowcharts from Thurston County Public Health and Social Services regarding information for employees and students who have been vaccinated. No other information has changed from the previous version of our Safety Plan.

Please remember to follow all safety and health protocols outlined in the plan.

Flags lowered to half-staff April 7

Pursuant to a message from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Gov. Jay Inslee directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agencies, including schools and support buildings, remain at half-staff today, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in honor and remembrance of Congressman Alcee Hastings, of Florida.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset today.

April 14 is deadline to submit referrals for high capable services

Do you know a student who:

  • Thinks up unusual ways to solve difficult problems?
  • Generates and comprehends complex and abstract ideas?
  • Exhibits feelings and opinions from multiple perspectives?
  • Thinks logically and wants things to make sense?
  • Prefers the company of intellectual peers?
  • Is an expert who abstracts beyond the field?

If you answered “yes” to the questions above, please consider referring that student for identification for highly capable services. Referrals may come from the community, teachers and/or parents/guardians. The referral window is open now for student identification for highly capable services and will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

Interested K-12 families are welcome to visit our Olympia School District’s Highly Capable Program webpage for complete information regarding identification and services as well as access to the referral forms. Hard copies of referral forms can be found at your student’s school building as well as the Knox Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia. Curious what the steps for identification, and timeline, look like for this process? Details can be found here.

If you have questions, please contact the Highly Capable Program at: hcp@osd.wednet.edu.

ESD 113 hosts free drive-through COVID-19 testing site

Adult driver and child, both wearing masks, sit in front seat of car to portray a drive-through COVID-19 testing site.

Staff and students who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with the virus may be tested for free at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site, which opened in early March.

The testing site is open from 8 a.m. until 12 noon weekdays at the Capital Region Education Service District 113 (ESD 113), 6005 Tyee Dr. S.W. in Tumwater.

Note: At this time, the free testing is open only to school and ESD staff and enrolled students. It is not available to family members, or the general community.

Pre-register online

Participants are encouraged to pre-register online before arriving at the testing site. Parents/guardians who pre-register their student online will also be asked to fill out a permission slip that allows test results to be shared with their student’s school district. This form is available at Capital Region ESD 113’s website and at the testing site.

  • To pre-register visit the ESD 113 website and use your school specific registration link.
  • COVID-19 tests will be processed by the Curative lab. The lab will contact participants by email or text with test results in approximately 3 days.
  • Please do not report to work or in-person learning/activities if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting your results.

Who can be tested?

  • The test is available to students and staff — both those learning remotely and those learning in person on school campuses.
  • The test used at the site is most effective in people who are being tested for COVID-19 within 14 days of the onset of symptoms. View COVID-19 symptoms on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
  • The test is recommended for ages 4 and up. If you are under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must accompany you to the test.
  • The test is available regardless of citizenship/immigration status.
  • Participants do not need to have health insurance to be tested, and no one will receive a bill for their test. If you have health insurance and provide that information, the lab will bill your insurance for the cost of testing.
  • People who do not meet the above criteria but want to be tested for COVID-19 should contact their health care provider or one of the testing locations on the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) website.

What to expect at the testing site

  • Do not eat, drink, chew gum, use mouthwash or smoke once you have arrived at the site. Doing these activities within 20 minutes of your test could affect your results.
  • You must wear a face covering over your nose and mouth when visiting the site.
  • This is a self-swab testing site. The entire process takes about 10-20 minutes to complete.
  • This is an oral saliva test; participants should not experience any discomfort. Participants are given instructions on how to properly swab their mouths to administer the test under observation while in their vehicles.
  • Go to the ESD 113 website to review FAQs and watch a video on the testing process.
  • The site is a drive-through location only.

What happens if a student or staff member develops COVID-19 symptoms after their arrival at school?

  • Students will proceed to the Isolation Room. School staff will call a parent. The school health professional will offer the COVID-19 test for the student once the parent arrives and provides written permission.
  • Staff will notify their supervisor and leave campus (follow the flowchart protocols).

The free diagnostic testing is made possible as part of “Learn to Return” — a state-funded program in collaboration between the Gates Foundation, Washington State Department of Health, state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Curative, and the non-profit Health Commons Project. The program is designed to keep students and staff as safe and healthy as possible regardless of whether they are in remote or in-person learning.

April 26 is deadline for 2020-21 OSDEF grant requests

OSDEF Logo with image of stick figures of an adult and children and the name of the Foundation beneath

Fourth quarter OSDEF Teaching & Learning Grant Requests are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 26. They will be considered for approval by the OSDEF Board of Trustees on Tuesday, May 11. All applicants will be notified of their grant’s status by no later than Friday, May 14.

Grants are available in amounts of up to $1,500 in the following categories: Closing the Opportunity Gap, Creativity and the Arts, Cultivating Engaged Citizens, Innovative Teaching and Learning, Meet a Need, and Mental Health Initiative.

Criteria, instructions and applications can all be found here. If you received a grant last year, you must submit a Post-Grant Report prior to being considered for grant funding this year.

2021-2022 Grant Requests will be accepted beginning in early August. More details will be announced before the end of the current school year.

Questions? Please reach out to OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson at info@osdef.og.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Columns, the right tool for the job

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to control the layout of a document using the Columns Tool. Please contact Robert with any accessibility questions. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

One of the most important elements of creating accessible content is to use the right tool for the job. As so many of us are self-taught Microsoft Office users, we find ourselves relying on the tools we are familiar with, rather than the ones designed for the task.

For instance, we may use asterisks rather than bulleted lists, or bolded text rather than true heading styles. While this may visually create the structure of a document, it fails to provide the programmatic accompaniment needed for users of assistive technology. These methods also often require more work from the author for a less satisfactory end product.

One of the more problematic uses of the wrong tool is the use of tables to define a document’s layout, rather than using the columns tool. By using the table tool rather than columns, the programmatic structure of the document is one of a data table. This sets users of assistive technology up for trouble, as these tools will anticipate a data table and describe the page in terms of rows and columns. As is apparent from the example below, describing the second column as “_______________” isn’t very informative.

Name:_______________Date_______________
Class:_______________School_______________

Rather than use tables, using the column tool is the way to get the job done:

Name ______________

Class: _______________

Date:   _______________

School: _______________

To add a columned section to your Microsoft Word document, simply select the Column Tool from the Layout Ribbon and select how many columns you would like.

Now, for many, the column tool within Microsoft Word is initially unwieldy, pushing text into the wrong columns or leaving too much blank space. Thankfully, there are solutions.

To control the margins of your columns, you can select the columned space, click the Column Tool, and then select More Columns. You can then define the column width, the spacing between columns and even if you want columns to be different widths.

To control the flow of text between columns, you can insert column breaks that force the text below them to the next column:

  • Windows: [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Enter]
  • Mac: [Cmd]+[Shift]+[Enter]

These two simple controls over the Column Tool remove its unwieldy nature and enable authors to use the right tool for the job. If you have questions about this or other accessibility features, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Electronic Time Reporting System update

Thank you for your help as we continue to work out minor glitches associated with the new electronic timeslip system. One issue that has been recently apparent is related to the user login experience. In order to better serve our users and cultivate a strong authentication process, all online business and payroll forms (including ETRS, EPWS, and ETDS) have moved to the OSD Portal (effective on April 1). The OSD Portal is more easily accessible and employees are usually already in the portal for other reasons. This move will make daily work more seamless with administrative tasks.

On the off-chance that you are not familiar with the portal, we have created a short video to show you how to log in the OSD Portal, and then where to access the links. Click here to watch the video (less than 30 seconds in length).

In short, you will now simply open your preferred web browser and visit https://my.osd111.org. Log in using your OSD credentials. Once logged in, under the “Staff” list on the left side of your screen, choose “Online Forms.” From there, you can now access links to multiple business and payroll systems.

Help determine OSDEF’s priorities for next three years via short survey

OSDEF Logo with image of stick figures of an adult and children and the name of the Foundation beneath

The Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) is seeking feedback from OSD employees via a short survey that will help determine OSDEF’s priorities for the next three years. OSDEF exists to support educators and your students, so your input is critical! Take the survey here.

This particular survey is for OSD employees only. A variety of other stakeholders, including students and families, will also be consulted throughout the process.

Questions about the survey or OSDEF’s strategic planning process? Contact OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson at katy@osdef.org.