Updates -Letter from the Superintendent

Letter from the Superintendent - Updates
Posted on 12/02/2021
Letter from the Superintendent





December 2, 2021

Dear Students, Staff and Community,

As you know from last night’s message, yesterday, at 2:25PM on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, Sheriff's Deputies notified our SWHS Principal that a possible threat was made against students at the 7-12 campus. The threat was made by a current High School student two weeks ago via social media to a relative living in the Spokane area.  Our information from the Sheriff indicates that the relative notified their Spokane counselor yesterday. The counselor understood that the student in question was a student at a Whidbey Island School. The counselor then called the Island County Sheriff who initiated an investigation and alerted our school yesterday afternoon. 

The South Whidbey student was arrested and the Island County Sheriff is continuing to investigate the situation. We are working together with the Island County Sheriff to ensure the safety of our students, staff and community. The student will not be allowed on our campus. The Island County Sheriff has determined through their continuing investigation that this is not a significant or imminent threat to our school or community.

Safety is our first priority and we, as always, are following our district safety plan. We have locked all outside school doors to all school buildings during the school hours. The Island County Sheriff’s office is on alert and will continue to be around our campuses this week. We understand the fear and concern our staff, students and families feel in the wake of the recent school tragedy in Michigan. Please call the Sheriff directly if you have questions or information on this or any other threat to safety for our students and staff.  


Jo Moccia, Superintendent




December 1, 2021


Dear Staff. Students and Families, 


At 2:25PM on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, Sheriff's Deputies notified the SWHS Principal that a possible threat was made against students at the 7-12 campus.   The possible threat was made by a current High School student two weeks ago via social media to a relative living in the Spokane area.  The relative notified their own school counselor who then called the Island County Sheriff.  Only today, did South Whidbey become aware of the threat.

 The student was arrested this afternoon and remains in the custody of the Island County Sheriff. The student has also been Emergency Expelled and will not be allowed on any SWSD property until an investigation is completed by the Island County Sheriff's Department and SWHS administration.

Our students' safety is the primary concern of our staff.  As a precaution, we'll increase our supervision of the interior and exterior of the 7-12 campus and ask our Sheriff's Department for their presence.


Dr. Jo Moccia
SWSD Superintendent







August 27, 2021 


Dear South Whidbey Staff, Students and Families:


Welcome back to school for the 2021-2022 school year! 


We have full days of staff training on Monday and Tuesday and are excited to see students in classes on Wednesday, September 1st.  Please check our website for helpful information www.sw.wednet.edu. There you will find the school calendarsschool hours, transportation detailsCovid 21-22 Updates and much more. The top right corner of the website has a search engine to find what you need, the top left corner has a drop down menu for each of the school websites. 


SWSD is working in close partnership with Island County Public Health and following the guidance for schools outlined earlier this month by the WA Dept. of Health. Flow charts that summarize the communication plan and action for an exposed or symptomatic individual are being updated and will be on the website under the Covid 21-22 Updates . The following is a brief summary of key elements.


1. Our safe and successful return to school relies on the following mitigation measures:

  • wearing masks
  • getting vaccinated
  • physical distancing
  • ensuring maximum ventilation 
  • frequent hand hygiene and cleaning
  • staying home when sick
  • isolating/quarantining and contact tracing

If an individual has been exposed or experiences symptoms of COVID-19, the staff member or family should communicate immediately with the school nurse who will inform school administrators. The individual will be offered testing through the school and quarantined to monitor for symptoms. Note: Fully vaccinated individuals are EXEMPT from quarantine UNLESS symptoms arise.  


If an individual receives a positive test result, they remain in quarantine for 10 days and the district assists Island County Public Health with contact tracing. Every person who is identified as a "close contact" will immediately receive notice from the school administrator or nurse. The greater school community can monitor cases through the COVID Dashboard posted on the District website. If results are negative, quarantine continues for 14 days. (Test-to-stay protocols may be approved in the near future that reduce the length of quarantine.) 


In summary, our strength during this pandemic is our individual and collective actions to reduce the risk of transmission. The most valuable measures are wearing masks, getting vaccinated as eligible, and avoiding "close contact" scenarios. Thank you for your teamwork! 




Dr. Jo Moccia, Superintendent



Welcome back 21-22

August 18, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am writing to share information about a new legal requirement for school employees in Washington state. On August 18, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee announced a new directive legally requiring all K–12 school district employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination or a medical or religious exemption by mid-October. 

This proclamation does not apply to students. The COVID-19 vaccine is not required for students. The proclamation also does not replace the requirement for all staff and students to wear masks or face coverings in schools and on school buses.

Please note that this announcement will not delay our return to school buildings this fall. Our first day of school will continue to be on September 1, 2021

Some of the key elements of the proclamation are outlined below:

  • South Whidbey School District and our Board of Directors do not have local control over this matter. We are legally required to follow the Governor’s directive. Employees may obtain a medical or religious exemption.
  • There is not an option to undergo regular testing for COVID-19 instead of receiving a vaccination or exemption.
  • Employees will need to provide proof of vaccination. Attestation is not an allowable substitute for vaccination. 
  • Vaccination is a condition of employment in the proclamation. Only a medical or religious exemption will substitute for the vaccine requirement.

Again, this proclamation does not include vaccine requirements for students but we strongly encourage vaccination for all who are eligible.  We are sharing this information so families understand some of the health and safety requirements in place for the 2021–22 school year.


Dr. Jo Moccia


August 13, 2021 PDF Copy Linked Here

Dear South Whidbey Families,


Last week,  I sent a letter (linked here)  with information on returning to school September 1st.  In that information I indicated that students will be masked except for lunch in the cafeteria and time outside. 


Several families contacted me with concerns about students being unmasked and in close contact given the emergence of the delta variant and the surge in disease activity.


We are reevaluating our lunch plans and will revise it in an effort to prevent risk of close contact. We are looking at a number of different options that will not change the full time in person status of students at school. These options include but are not limited to:

  • Lunch in the classroom
  • Lunch outside in tents
  • Smaller lunch groups in the lunchroom

Today, at 9am, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, held a media briefing (linked here). In his briefing he reviewed his request of Governor Jay Inslee to take executive action to require all K12 school employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.


The safety of our students and staff is of paramount importance to us as a district. Please rest assured that we will follow all protocols recommended by the State.


For now, you can get your scholar ready for returning to school in person by practicing wearing their masks in public.  Keeping your scholar home if they are not feeling well is essential.  Once school begins, we will have Covid testing available at school for all students, staff and family members. 


If you think you might be eligible, please complete the 21-22 Free and Reduced Forms (linked here). This eligibility may apply towards ASB, Athletics and Class fees. 


Transportation routes, bell schedules and all of the final details are still being finalized at the district and building level. You can expect that they will look much like they did when we began the 2019-2020 school year. Please check your emails daily for updates from your schools, principals and teachers.. 


School building offices open on Monday.  We are excited for our students who will be coming to attend the summer jumpstart, Orca Reading and kindergarten camp programs.   Multiple high school students have completed or are completing their credit recovery programs. We are so proud of these scholars who buckled down through the summer to focus and move forward in their education. 


Please enjoy the remainder of your summer.  




 Jo Moccia, Superintendent




August 6, 2021  PDF Copy linked here.

Dear South Whidbey Families:

We are looking forward to the 2021-2022 school year!  School begins for students on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. We will be in school full time and our Wednesday schedule will continue to be early release.  Please check the 21-22 instructional calendar linked here for complete details.

As of today, we are required by law to be masked indoors while at school regardless of vaccination status.  Governor Inslee, Washington Department of Health (WaDOH), and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) have made this very clear to all school districts across the state.  Our district will enforce this mandate.

We are no longer required to do health attestations, but we will offer Covid testing onsite for all. Parents/Guardians will be contacted if a student has symptoms.  Of course, no testing will take place without parent/guardian permission. Covid cases will continue to be updated on the district website linked here.

The district will continue mitigation efforts including air cleaners and increased ventilation, physical distancing to the maximum extent possible (three (3) feet between students and six (6) feet between adults as well as adults and students). Exceptions include students requiring adult assistance.  Students will use the cafeteria and will be able to remove masks while eating and when outside.

We strongly encourage all those eligible for Covid vaccines to obtain them.  Our staff are over 95% vaccinated.  There is no legal mandate to get vaccinated to attend school at this time.  Science indicates that our best defense against Covid includes vaccination.  Please see the Washington Department of Health website linked here.

We look forward to continuing our work to meet the vision, mission and goals adopted by our Board of Directors.    

Our Vision:

Every South Whidbey School District Student is a lifelong learner who is multi-culturally engaged, literate, and an active community member able to meet the challenges of our global society.

 Our Mission:

In collaboration with our community, every student will be supported to be a resilient, innovative, compassionate, and productive graduate prepared for a diverse and dynamic world.

Our Values:

Accountability, Collaboration, Communication, Compassion, Equity, Empathy, Integrity, Resilience, Respect and Responsibility

Our specific goals for 2021-2022, adopted by the Board on July 28th are:

Goal 1: Restorative Conversations:

Dr. Moccia will lead the district’s engagement in and facilitation of restorative conversations with students, staff, families, and community members leading toidentification of new and continuing action areas.

Goal 2: Learning Growth for All Students:

Dr. Moccia will lead the district in prioritizing training and implementation of best practices that create learning environments supportive of every student’s success in the future they choose.

Goal 3: Transformational Communication and Leadership:

Dr. Moccia will participate in and lead the district leadership team in transformational leadership development to dismantle systemic barriers for students.

We are continuing to get ready for school to begin September 1st. The school offices will open to the public on Monday, August 16th.  If you moved or changed your contact information, please make sure to let the school secretaries know. School Supply lists (linked here)  are being added to the websites as they come available.  Transportation route updates (linked here)  will also be posted in the coming weeks. Please check the websites often. There is a search engine on the top right of the websites to search for what you are looking for. If you can’t find it online, you can always email the district at info@sw.wednet.edu.  Read up on the monthly SWSD District Navigator Newsletter for updates on what is happening in the district. If you are not receiving the Navigator newsletter, please check with your school registrar to make sure your email address is up to date.  Additionally, you can find current and past newsletters on our website linked here.

 Enjoy the rest of your summer. We will see you soon!


Jo Moccia, Superintendent


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