Letter from Chris Reykdal, Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction

Fall 2021–22 K–12 DOH Requirements

Greetings Superintendents and Education Partners:

Earlier this morning Governor Inslee announced the extension of our face covering requirement for all staff and students working in educational facilities where students are present. This requirement applies to both unvaccinated and vaccinated students and staff.

If you have been following credible news sources, you know that the Delta variant is highly transmissible and there is growing evidence that vaccinated individuals may be carrying significant viral loads. The good news is that vaccines remain the most powerful way to avoid severe illness and hospitalization. Sadly, a large share of adults and an even larger percent of our students who are eligible for the vaccine have not embraced this opportunity yet. Cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again, and so far in this pandemic, cases and hospitalizations are a precursor to an uptick in the loss of life.

The Governor and DOH will continue to review the data, subsequent variants, and the effectiveness of layered mitigation strategies for any possibility that we can loosen masking requirements. You can find an archive of the Governor’s press availability here. And here is the link to the updated fall DOH school guidance.

The irony in our state and across the country is that the communities with the greatest loss of life per 100,000 population remain the places that are most hesitant to get the vaccine or wear masks. Some states have turned masking decisions over to local school boards. A few states have banned local jurisdictions from adopting layered, evidence-based health mitigation strategies, and the result has been decisions based less and less on public health metrics and science, and more and more on the local political climate. Please make it very clear to your communities that the masking decision is not a choice being left to local school boards. Washington state continues to take a public health approach to this. This approach has resulted in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths at half of the U.S. average on a per 100,000 population.

I know many stakeholders wanted to eliminate mask mandates this fall. I believe in time we can move towards a family choice about this particular preventative measure, but not until there is much higher evidence that mask removal won’t spike cases, close school buildings, or contribute to additional deadly variants.

I also know many families across the state wanted this mask information as they determine whether to return their students to classrooms this fall. We expect there will be additional impacts on enrollments in some communities because of this decision. We will work with the Governor and the Legislature to address potential budget impacts that may result from lower enrollments. In the meantime, districts should plan for these financial impacts by using deliberate caution right now in hiring and other expenditures. There is no guarantee that the Legislature will attempt to make districts whole for the loss of state funds. Federal ESSER funds can plug holes in many cases to ensure a continuity of services and supports, but those funds are one-time in nature and should not be used to make long-term budget commitments.

While masks will be required to start our school year, the expectation remains that EVERY family that wants a full-time, in-person learning experience will be given that opportunity. OSPI will not send basic education funding to districts who attempt to force hybrid schedules or remote learning mandates on all students. The 2021–22 school year will look a little different with masks and other continuing health mitigation strategies, but make no mistake, we have turned the corner and the incredible in-person learning model that has propelled our state to excellence in the past is the primary learning model for this year and beyond. Districts may offer remote learning models, consistent with earlier guidance, for those families that do not choose an in-person option.

Finally, you may be reading a lot about the federal government, private employers, and other organizations mandating vaccines or routine COVID testing as a condition of employment. That is not currently the requirement of state employees or school district employees, nor do we have a COVID vaccine requirement for students, and that is not expected this year. Again, vaccines for those who are eligible remain the most powerful way to avoid COVID infections and severe illness. Please continue your efforts to encourage vaccinations for as many of your eligible students and staff as you can.

Thank you once again for your leadership throughout the pandemic. At the heart of our republic is our commitment to student learning. Formal systems are tested in moments like these, no doubt. Our job is not about replicating static systems, however, it’s about moving learning forward for each and every student no matter the obstacles and challenges. We have built a functioning democracy and provided broad economic opportunity precisely because education has endured and overcome in the most complicated of times. Keep leading, maintain high expectations, and challenge everyone around you to rise to this moment with grace, dignity, and credible information.

Chris Reykdal

USDA Announces Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers:

Applications Due October 15!

After 7 months of inertia, USDA announced Wednesday they were releasing up to $200 million to provide relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that have experienced losses due to COVID-19. The funding was included as part of the omnibus spending bill for the current fiscal year, enacted on December 31st of last year.

.Eligibility:

  • Have been in operation as a timber harvesting business or timber hauling business for at least part of the periods from January 1, 2019, through December 1, 2019, and January 1, 2020, through December 1, 2020. USDA will adjust your gross revenue proportionally if you did not operate during the entire period for one or both years.
  • Be a business that derived at least 50 percent of gross revenue from timber harvesting and/or timber hauling from January 1, 2019, through December 1, 2019, and from January 1, 2020, through December 1, 2020. Specifically, eligible activities to earn revenue during these periods include cutting timber, transporting timber, and/or the processing of wood on-site on the forest land, such as chipping, grinding, converting to biochar, cutting to smaller lengths, etc.
  • Have experienced a loss of at least 10 percent in gross revenue during this period in 2020 as compared to 2019. You can calculate your loss in revenue using the following formula, where both years reflect gross revenue from January 1 through December 1:

Percent Revenue Loss = ((2019 Gross Revenue – 2020 Gross Revenue) / 2019 Gross Revenue) x 100

  • If a logger, must have a 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code of 113310 for tax purposes. The NAICS code for your business will be located on your federal tax return documents for 2019 and 2020. 
  • If a trucker, must have a NAICS code of 484220 or 484230 and must have filed an IRS Form 2290. The NAICS code for your business will be located on your federal tax return documents for 2019 and 2020. 
  • Comply with provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations, often called the conservation compliance provisions. These will be addressed via form AD-1026 during the application process.
  • Not have a controlled substance violation.
  • Be a citizen of the United States or a resident alien.
  • Submit a complete PATHH application form (FSA-1118) and provide all required documentation. The below section details all documents required to apply for PATHH.
  • Not be a minor. Minors under 18 years of age are not eligible for PATHH.

If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact the FSA office at your local USDA Service Center or call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance.

Applying for Assistance

Loggers and truckers will be able to apply for PATHH by working directly with the Farm Service Agency office at their local USDA Service Center. Applications will be accepted via mail, fax, hand delivery, or electronic means.

Producers with an eAuthentication account can apply for PATHH via our PATHH Application Portal. Applications can be completed, electronically signed, and submitted directly to your local USDA Service Center through this online system. Reference our PATHH Application Portal User Guide for more information. Producers interested in creating an eAuthentication account should visit farmers.gov/sign-in to learn more.

The forms you will need to complete your application are outlined below.

  • FSA-1118, Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers (PATHH) Application: Applicants must complete and sign the PATHH application form and submit it to any FSA county office nationwide. The applicant must certify their gross revenue for 2019 and 2020 on the FSA-1118. 
  • AD-2047, Customer Data WorksheetThis form will be filled out for all individuals and legal entities, including entity members, who have not previously provided their personal information to USDA that positively identifies the customer.
  • CCC-901, Member Information for Legal Entities (If Applicable): Legal entities will fill out the CCC-901 to facilitate the administration of the payment limitation and eligibility requirements, including providing members’ names and taxpayer identification numbers.
  • AD-1026, Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification: All applicants must complete the AD-1026 form. If the applicant does not have any farming interests, this can be certified in box 5A. If the applicant does have a farming interest, the form must be completed in its entirety.
  • IRS Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return: An applicant applying as a timber hauler must provide a copy of IRS Form 2290 for logging vehicles for 2019 and 2020. Under special circumstances, as determined by USDA, this form will not be required for a timber hauler.
  • SF-3881, ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Payment Enrollment Form: This form will be filled out for all applicants to collect your banking information to allow USDA to make payments to you via direct deposit.
  • If requested by USDA, the applicant must provide documentation to verify eligibility and specific information included on the application, such as tax records with NAICS 113310, 484220, or 484230, as well as evidence that supports the gross revenue the applicant received from timber harvesting or hauling. Evidence could include receipts, tax returns, and other documentation that is determined acceptable by USDA as valid.

You are encouraged to contact the FSA office at your local USDA Service Center with any questions about PATHH, program eligibility, or the application process. You may also call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to provide one-on-one assistance.

Emergency Broadband Benefits

About the Emergency Broadband Benefit

The upcoming Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.

Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets one of the criteria below:

1. Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;

2. Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;

3. Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or

4. Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program. Download the EBB Brochure HERE.

The Sequim Education Foundation (SEF) is seeking an Executive Director

The Sequim Education Foundation (SEF) is seeking an Executive Director to serve as the point of contact for all Foundation programs, with the major emphasis on fundraising activities. The ED will collaborate with the Board to meet annual goals as well as serve as the Foundation’s representative, promoting SEF’s mission within the community and school district.

Sequim Education Foundation (SEF), a nonprofit 501(c)3, was founded in 2001 to address the financial gap between state funding and the needs of Sequim School District. SEF’s goal is to promote local support of education, as strong public schools are critical to a thriving, successful community.

Resume & letter of interest may be sent to sequimeducationfoundation@gmail.com.

Employment Status: Salary Range:Quarter-time (approximately 40 hrs/mo) $12,000-$15,000 DOE
Reports to:Sequim Education Foundation Board of Directors
Summary of Primary Job Functions:

  • Strategic Planning and Programming: Enhance programs that further the strategic objective of the Sequim School District
  • Communications & Marketing: Deepen and refine all aspects of Foundation communications and marketing, including social media networking
  • Fundraising & Donor Development: Expand revenue generating activities and donor development to support existing operations and program.
  • Operations: Develop and maintain Foundation’s budget and financial records and reporting in cooperation with Treasurer.

Contact:

sequimeducationfoundation@gmail.comwww.sequimeducationfoundation.org

Clallam County remains a HUBZone through Dec 31, 2021:

The SBA issued a direct final rule extending the HUBZone map freeze from December 31, 2021, to June 30, 2023. The direct final rule (available here) takes effect on June 21, 2021. This is the latest in a series of developments for the HUBZone Program in 2021. 

Background:

Several years ago, SBA froze the HUBZone maps until December 31, 2021, to ensure that firms would have enough time to plan after seeing how the results of the 2020 Census would impact the HUBZone maps. However, due to the pandemic, the 2020 Census results are behind schedule and SBA does not expect to have the data it needs until December 2022. Therefore, to ensure HUBZone firms have enough time to plan around the new HUBZone maps based on the 2020 Census data, SBA’s direct final rule will keep the HUBZone maps “on ice” until June 30, 2023. Pushing back the anticipated “thaw” for another 1.5 years will give SBA time to incorporate the 2020 Census data into the HUBZone maps and then provide adequate notice to the HUBZone small business community.

 SBA’s direct final rule is a welcome change for many HUBZone firms that were facing the loss of their HUBZone status at the end of this year. It is also possible that, once the HUBZone maps are updated to reflect the 2020 Census data, some areas that are currently in redesignated status could come back into the HUBZone program by the time the HUBZone maps unfreeze after June 30, 2023. 

The Working Washington 4 Grant Portal Is open NOW!

Working Washington Round 4 offers grant relief funds to small for-profit businesses, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures.

Priorities for funding are:

  • For-profit small businesses in industries that have hard costs associated with their operations, and faced the most significant challenges to paying those hard costs because they were required to close.
  • Businesses with lost revenue as a result of closure.
  • Hard costs include but are not limited to rent, utilities, payroll or personal protective equipment. Eligible businesses must operate from a brick-and-mortar location that is separate from their home.
  • Businesses with added expenses to maintain safe operations. (For example: Creating an outdoor eating area, putting in barriers between tables, the costs to build an online storefront, adding delivery, and more)
  • Equitable distribution of grant funds across the state and to businesses owned and operated by historically disadvantaged individuals.

Some criteria outline in legislation is:

  • Businesses must apply the grant award toward expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 through June 30th, 2021.
  • Commerce must take into account previous Working Washington awards distributed by the agency or affiliated partners. This means grant awards will vary. The maximum grant award will be $25,000.
  • Grants must be equitably distributed statewide and to historically underserved and disadvantaged populations

Portal Found Here

Coming soon: America Rescue Plan Act 2021

New information is coming out about the funds that will be available to help small businesses. While we don’t yet have specifics on the grants to come, we do know there will some and we will update with specifics as soon as we get details about them.

One are of particular interest to restaurants is the $25 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund for 2021 to be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

  • $5 billion of this will be allocated to restaurants whose gross receipts in 2019 were less than $500,000, and the first 21 days of the program prioritizes small businesses owned by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
  • Public companies, government-managed businesses, entities, and affiliates that have more than 20 locations, and entities that applied for a shuttered venue operator grant (as discussed below) will not qualify.
  • Grant amounts will not exceed a restaurant’s pandemic-related revenue loss (which is measured by the difference between 2020 and 2019 gross receipts) of up to $10 million (with a limit of $5 million per physical location).
  • Grant amounts may be used to cover payroll costs, mortgage payments, rent, utilities, maintenance expenses, operational expenses, paid sick leave, and supplies.
  • Grant amounts received from the restaurant revitalization fund won’t be treated as taxable income, and expenditures paid with such grant amounts will still be deductible.

As soon as we know more about this fund, we will send out an email with details, as well as post all new info here.