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PSESD Workers' Compensation Trust Supports Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality and its Relationship to COVID 

PSESD’s Workers’ Compensation Trust (WCT) offers preventive health and safety related services to member school districts. Our Client Services Team includes an Industrial Hygiene Consultant who works with member districts on their schools Indoor Air Quality, environmental and chemical exposures, and management of hazardous chemicals. The work is in collaboration with school science laboratories, involves technical and art education, focuses on custodial cleaners and disinfectants, and highlights safety in maintenance shops, in transportation systems, and elsewhere. Currently, the consultants are dealing with COVID, building safety, and returning students to school. 

So, what is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and how does IAQ relate to the current COVID situation? 

  • IAQ is about the air we breathe indoors. Elements of IAQ include ventilation, proper cleaning and disinfection, and the reduction of exposure to air pollutants, both chemical and biological. Examples of biological pollutants are mold, bacteria, and viruses, including the COVID family. 
  • It is proven that IAQ influences the peak performance of staff and students, impacting even testing scores when allergies or asthma cause absenteeism, tiredness, and headaches derived from poor indoor air. 
  • The basics of good IAQ are still the same as before COVID: optimized ventilation, proper cleaning with low hazard, unscented cleaners, and the use of EPA approved disinfectants. 
  • More attention to proper cleaning and understanding that only solid surfaces can be properly disinfected and that spray disinfectants only transfer pollutants into the air. 
  • Providing proper hand washing facilities, preferably with non-touch equipment and paper towels, and disconnecting blowing hand dryers that spread germs into the air. 
  • What works are still the basics: social distancing, handwashing, elevated ventilation, proper and regular cleaning and disinfection. 


The WCT collaborates with and follows the guidance of agencies (EPA, CDC, state and county health departments, OSPI, L&I), professional organizations, and colleagues from other Washington ESDs. We are on the same page. There should be no contradiction in the consults we provide and we support each other’s message. 

The silver lining of the COVID situation is that IAQ measures have gained more attention and more support because of the value added to students and school employees. This focus has brought a new level of collaboration between IAQ Coordinators, Administration, Maintenance & Operations, Human 

Resources, Nurses, and Communications professionals all working together to make schools healthier and safer for all who work and learn in our buildings. 


Employer Health and Safety Requirements for School Scenarios: https://www.k12.wa.us/sites/default/files/public/communications/Employer-Health-and-Safety-Requirements-for-School-Scenarios.pdf 

Ventilation and Air Quality for Reducing Transmission of COVID-19: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/VentilationGuidance.pdf 


The Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) Board of Directors is excited to announce its appointment of two new Board Directors. The two appointees fill vacant positions on the nine-member board.

Eric Harris (District 2, serving North/Central/West Seattle, Bainbridge Island and Vashon Island) and Mehret Tekle-Awarun (District 5, serving Renton, Kent and South Seattle) have been appointed to the PSESD Board of Directors. 

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Closing Gaps with the Washington State Fellows’ Network

The Washington State Fellows’ Network is a leadership program focused on equitable mindsets and practices. Puget Sound Fellows are teacher leaders, instructional coaches, administrators and curriculum specialists across our 35 districts. Fellows focus on standards-based, racially just and humanizing instruction in their content area. Consulting research and national and statewide guidance on equitable practices and change management, Fellows learn together to evolve their individual practices and leadership. Fellows apply their learning in an action plan to target an opportunity gap in the school or district in partnership with their principals

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Leaders in LTFS: Christina deVidal

How to Become an Antiracist Educator

Christina deVidal from Lake Washington School District, is an educator and a member of the PSESD ELA Fellows network. Christina will be presenting to the WA Senate Committee on Early Learning & K–12 Education on November 30 about her journey as a culturally-responsive and antiracist educator. In this interview, Christina talks about her journey as a teacher, her “why” for teaching, and what it means to be antiracist educator.  

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Creating Connections through the PSESD Student Support Center

Creating Connections Through the PSESD Student Support Center

As we return to school, we are discovering students are enrolling and showing up. What we are learning is that many of our students are lonely and have felt disconnected and possibly abandoned by the adults they depend on. Our youth crave and value the feeling of being cared for by adults. Social-emotional learning, per se, is not a curricula, a task, or a universal screening with a triage procedure. Each of these have a place, as they are designed to support youth and enable access to needed resources. However, these are strategies only. Strategies are not what create connections and are not the things that are sought out first. They are activities that become effective once a youth feels cared for, connected to, and valued for who they are. We cannot create that kind of connection by focusing on being busy, creating structures, and leading with a need for efficiency. 

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Implementation Plan Approved in Support of King County Promise

On September 1, 2020, the Martin Luther King County Council approved the implementation plan for historic legislation investing $318 million to improve educational outcomes for children and youth over the next 15 years. The investment, funded through voter-approved Sound Transit 3 proceeds, supports King County children and youth across the entire age spectrum, from early learning through college, career and technical education completion.

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Young students playing with puzzle pieces

Back in March, all Educare Learning Network schools closed their physical locations in response to COVID-19. Just a month later, Educare Seattle was the first Network school to reopen their building, providing on-site childcare for enrolled children and families of essential workers. We touched base with Educare Site Manager Aeryn King to hear about her journey to her current position and the lessons learned along the way.

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Two babies and mother play with rattles

Four mothers share their experiences being parents in the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW). With help from PSESD's Early Head Start at WCCW, the mothers are able to build healthy relationships with their children, receive parenting and childcare support, participate in child development education, and prepare for their futures upon release.

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Educare Seattle logo

At the onset of the pandemic, Educare Seattle took a bold step in assessing the risks and rewards of reopening, to provide services to parents who are first responders. After adopting and implementing strict policies, procedures and practices for health and safety of staff and students, the White Center-based service, carefully welcomed students back in early April. Read about the process here. Learn more about how Educare was founded and their guiding principles.

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Screenshot of ISB animated video

PSESD’S Science Department, in partnership with Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), offered a number of four-hour workshops for STEM teachers. The powerful event connected workshop participants with practicing scientists and engineers from ISB to maximize professional development and learning.

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Students and teacher outside at ReLife

Principal Lynne Truitt and the ReLife staff have found a creative way to engage students with the invention of Amusement Park Month! Each student will have a 30-minute, in-person, outdoor physically distanced educational activity and interaction with staff to get new assignments, drop off completed work, get important school messages and information, and enjoy tasty treats.

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Best Starts for Kids King County Logo

The PSESD Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning team joined with partners at Mill Creek Middle School in Kent School District to host a webinar on June 11, 2020. We shared what we are learning about equitable partnerships in schools through the Best Starts for Kids (BSK) School Partnership Evaluation.

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Regional Art Show Screenshot

Superintendent Chris Reykdal, and our Washington State school community of 16 student honorees, a host of teachers, parents and friends, celebrated the arts on May 29 in Olympia, Washington via Zoom conferencing. For the first time in Art Show history, people gathered online to celebrate the work and accomplishments of the artists. See a replay of the show on Facebook and view the online gallery.

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Black Lives Matter

Puget Sound Educational Service District acknowledges the pain, anger and trauma resulting from George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, Monday, May 25, 2020. All PSESD offices will be closed starting at noon, Friday, June 12, as we stand with our Black and African-American colleagues, friends and loved ones, as well as people that advocate and fight for humanity, against racism of all forms, in the statewide silent march and general strike to end police violence against the Black community.

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