COVID-19 Information

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The City of Mercer Island is committed to sharing up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the community. These pages share the latest information, resources, and more.

Click on the shortcut buttons below to access the most requested information.



The City of Mercer Island is committed to sharing up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the community. These pages share the latest information, resources, and more.

Click on the shortcut buttons below to access the most requested information.


  • Back to School Info & Resources

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    It is time for back to school!

    We recognize that the start to the 2020-2021 school year is a little different, but we wish all of the students, parents, extended families, caregivers, MISD faculty, and staff all the best for the school year!

    For information about the 2020-2021 school year click here: mercerislandschools.org/fall2020 Continue below for Superintendent Colosky's August 31 and the MISD Board's September 7 messages to Mercer Island families.

    Did You Know? Even though school buildings are not physically open, school-based health centers will be open at 34 schools this fall. Click here for more information and locations.

    Looking for ideas on how to help your kids through this quarter? Check out Best Starts for Kids post on Learning Pods: Back to School During a Pandemic.

    On September 11, King County Public Health released this article entitled: Schools Preparing for a Measured Return to In-Person Learning. Click here to read the article.

    The Department of Health has also put out the post, A healthy start to the school year, to help with ideas on making this different start to the school year, a good one.


    Dear MISD families and community,

    Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!

    Five months ago, when I made the determination that it was necessary to enact an emergency closure of our schools, I continued to be hopeful that our students would come back to our buildings. I knew it would look different with all of the health and safety protocols that we would learn and institute as the science taught us more about how this virus behaves.

    Now as we start the year under the Red Learning phase, I remain optimistic that we will be returning to our classrooms for in-person teaching and learning sooner rather than later. When it is safe to do so, we will bring students back to the school buildings, especially our youngest learners and our learners who are most impacted.

    We will continue to review our plans every three weeks and work in collaboration with Public Health - Seattle and King County as well as referencing the Washington Dept. of Health Decision Tree for reopening that is applicable for all school districts in the state.

    As we analyze the health data, we also will be tracking staff availability, along with student engagement and learning in determining which individuals and small groups may return to in-person learning. Please know that we are listening to your suggestions and reading your emails.

    For students to be able to participate in the Orange Learning phase, the county-wide risk in the decision tree must be moderate or lower. As a reminder, our Orange phase means we will bring some students back for expanded in-person learning and participation. It is an essential element of reopening that we make every effort to keep students in cohorts as we transition to more in-person learning settings. It is also important when we do return to in-person learning, that we implement all the Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

    There continues to be broad evidence that supports our core value of supporting the whole child. Our first priority during this unprecedented time must be supporting our students’ social and emotional development in order for learning to progress. Although our classrooms will be starting virtually, we must still emphasize relationships as the means to support our students’ learning.

    As our District’s Values, Vision and Mission states “students are the priority,” we will continue to focus on how to personalize our students' learning by getting to know them individually in order to build a trusted relationship, even if it is virtual to begin the school year.

    This school year is going to be like none other, but we are all continuing to learn and grow together. We will greet new students, learn new skills, be frustrated with technology, and continue our work together as a caring community with a growth mindset - our kids need and deserve it.

    Please visit our Fall 2020 website at mercerislandschools.org/fall2020 for continuing updates, and please post your first day photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #MIFirstDay2020.

    Sincerely,
    Donna Colosky, Superintendent


    September 7, 2020 Message from the MISD Board:

    Dear Mercer Island Schools families and community,

    We hope this first week of the 2020-2021 school year has gone well. The continued COVID-19 pandemic has required us to start the school year in a remote learning environment, with limited exceptions for some of the most impacted students. Additionally, the District is facing a significant reduction in revenue for transportation for the 2020-21 school year due to decreasing availability of financial resources.

    The state has strict guidelines on transportation funding and how it can be allocated and spent, which is for primarily transporting students to and from school. While Governor Inslee has expanded the terms of transportation funding, that funding still applies only to specific job duties. Unless the state Legislature acts to change the funding model, the District does not anticipate receiving any transportation funding for the second half of the 2020-21 school year.

    The District, as directed by School Board policy, must balance our value of 'Students are the Priority' and maintaining a fiscally responsible budget, while ensuring that our employees receive the most generous compensation plan possible.

    At this time, the District is shifting positions in the transportation department that are regularly funded through the state to partial unpaid furlough/stand-by-status. While hours have been reduced, drivers still have some work transporting our more impacted children to and from appointments in school buildings. Affected staff members have been notified, and the School Board will consider the reductions at its September 10 meeting.

    This is not a decision that was made quickly or reactively. The Superintendent and School Board have been advocating for modifications in state funding since March in order to protect our transportation department. The District receives state funding for transportation based on student use for to/from school ridership. Being in a remote learning model has required us to make some incredibly difficult decisions regarding our transportation department staffing.

    Those furloughed will continue receiving District employer contributions to health insurance benefits throughout the school year as determined by the School Employees’ Benefit Board (SEBB). There will be assistance for these employees in applying for unemployment benefits. Human Resources is also working to assist them in being eligible as substitutes for positions in other departments for which they are qualified. We anticipate the furlough to continue during the remote instruction period.

    These are unprecedented times impacting every school district in the state. While that does not provide solace for our valued transportation staff members affected by these adjustments, please know that we continue to push the Governor and the Legislature for clear guidance and adjustments to the transportation funding model that will allow us to maintain staffing, provide services and pivot to in-person learning.

    Please encourage your students to continue to wear masks and maintain the six-foot social distancing so that we can all return to in-person learning as soon as possible.

    Mercer Island School District Board of Directors
    Deborah Lurie, President
    Maggie Tai Tucker, Vice President
    Tam Dinh, Director
    David D’Souza, Director
    Brian Giannini Upton, Director

  • Wildfire Smoke and COVID-19

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    Wildfire smoke can cause symptoms that range from the annoying — eye, nose, and throat irritation — to the dangerous — wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

    Wildfire smoke is especially harmful for children, pregnant women, and people who are over 65. And if you already have a heart or lung condition like asthma or COVID-19, breathing in wildfire smoke can make it worse.

    Take steps to keep smoke out and have better indoor air quality.

    • You can do this by improving filtration and creating a clean air room in your home. If you create a homemade box fan air filter, never leave it unattended. Left alone, it is a fire hazard.
    • When the air quality is poor, don’t add to indoor air pollution by burning candles or incense, or smoking inside.
    • Close windows and doors when it’s smoky outside but open windows and let in fresh air when there’s better air quality outside.
    • Wear your cloth face covering to slow the spread of COVID-19, but don’t think it is protecting you from the smoke. It keeps droplets from spreading, but lets dangerous microscopic smoke particles right in.
    • Stay informed about wildfire smoke on the Washington Smoke Information blog and your local clean air agency’s website.

    For more information to protect your health visit DOH's Smoke from Fires web page.

    On Tuesday, September 8, the Mercer Island Fire Marshal's Office issued a burn ban and tips to help prevent or stop the spread of brush fires. Follow this link for more information: www.mercerisland.gov/burnban.
  • Mask Giveaway Today!

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    Our amazing volunteers will be back out this evening to hand out masks to the community!

    Where: Former Tully's Coffee in Town Center


    When: Tonight (October 15) from 5:00pm-7:00pm


    After you've practiced your Earthquake Preparedness drill (stop, drop, and hold on), head over and grab some washable, reusable, cloth masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your community.

    See you there!

  • Federal and County Tax Extensions

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    In an effort to help individuals and businesses during this challenging time, King County and the IRS have extended tax filing deadlines. Please see below for links to information from King County and the IRS.

    King County Postpones Payment Deadline to June 1 for Individual Property Taxpayers

    Individual residential and commercial taxpayers who pay property taxes themselves, rather than through their mortgage lender, can delay payment until June 1, 2020 due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

    Banks and other financial institutions that pay property taxes on behalf of their lending customers will still need to meet the original April 30 deadline.

    For more information visit the King County website: www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/constantine/news/release/2020/March/30-property-tax-extension.aspx


    IRS Filing and Payment Deadline Extended to July 15

    The Treasury Department and the IRS are providing special tax filing and payment relief in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible.

    For those who can't file by the July 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return.

    This filing and payment relief includes:

    • The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers, are automatically extended until July 15.
    • This relief applies to all individual returns, trusts, and corporations.
    • This relief is automatic, taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify.
    • This relief includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15.
    • Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16.

    Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

    For more information, visit the IRS website: www.irs.gov/newsroom/payment-deadline-extended-to-july-15-2020

  • City Facility Closures and Event Scheduling Update

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    Apr 14, 2020 – Today the City of Mercer Island announced an update on event and meeting cancellations, and facility closures, for the coming months. In order to maintain ongoing compliance with Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order, the following are now in effect:

    • City Council Meetings - will continue as live video conferences for the foreseeable future. The next meeting is Tuesday, April 21, at 5:00pm and is viewable on the City’s customary outlets: You Tube and MI-TV Cable Channel 21. Residents can also call into these meeting to listen by phone; meeting details and the agenda are available on the City’s website at www.mercergov.org. Residents with feedback for Council on current issues or agenda items are invited to submit them in advance by 3:00pm on April 21, via the Let’s Talk Council Connects webpage. The City is developing a strategy to resume in-meeting public comment at the May 5 City Council Regular Video Meeting.
    • Most Board and Commission meetings have been canceled for the remainder of April and May; visit City web calendar for details. The Civil Service Commission and Disability Board have necessary business to conduct, and as such, they will hold their meetings via teleconference; please visit City web calendar for call-in details.
    • All City Buildings & Court – closed through at least May 4; building operations will be re-evaluated in coordination with updates from the Governor’s Office, which are anticipated at the end of April.
    • City Special Events and Volunteer Programs – canceled through June (e.g. Friday Night Films, restoration events, etc.)
    • Spring Recreation Programs – canceled through June; a decision on summer recreation programs and summer camps is anticipated by mid-May.
    • Summer Special Events – canceled, including Mostly Music in the Park, Shakespeare in the Park, and National Trails Day.
    • Parks Facilities
      • Closed: playgrounds, ballfields, picnic areas, sport courts, parking lots at parks
      • Open: parks, most park restrooms, dog park, boat launch and P-patch

    This list will be evaluated over the coming weeks. In the meantime, the City encourages everyone to continue heeding the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order, and maintain appropriate social distancing even as the weather warms up and more people are recreating outside.

  • May 14 - Unemployment Payments Paused

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    Washington to pause unemployment payments after finding $1.6 million in suspected fraudulent claims.

    Washington state officials say they’re pausing unemployment payments for two days while they attempt to block fraudulent claims. The surge comes as the state processes a wave of claims for jobless benefits.

    For more information visit https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment

  • Two cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in Washington state

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    Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Health officials do not yet know what causes MIS-C, however, they do know that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19.

    May 22, 2020, OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), Snohomish Health District and Public Health—Seattle & King County are confirming two cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19.

    The patients, one Snohomish County resident and one King County resident, both received treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital. One patient is under the age of 10 and the other is between 10 and 19 years of age.

    These are the only cases reported in Washington state residents to date. Health care providers in the United Kingdom were the first to recognize cases in late April, and providers in other states have identified cases as well. Following increased reports of previously healthy children presenting with a severe inflammatory syndrome with Kawasaki disease-like symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory last Thursday with a case definition.

    “In Washington, we are tracking this issue closely and working with local health departments and providers to learn more,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer for DOH. “Early last week we asked all health care providers in the state to be on the lookout and immediately report possible cases to local health authorities.”

    The current case definition includes the following:

    • Under the age of 21, with a fever, laboratory evidence of inflammation, and severe illness involving more than two organs that requires hospitalization; AND
    • No other plausible diagnoses; AND
    • Positive COVID-19 test, or exposure to a confirmed case, within the four weeks prior to the onset of symptoms.

    “Seattle Children’s is committed to caring for our region’s most medically complex children, and our team of specialists is well-equipped to care for children presenting with this newly identified syndrome,” said Dr. John McGuire, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Seattle Children’s. “Although it remains very uncommon, parents should call their primary care providers if their children are showing new or unusual symptoms, such as a persistent fever or headache, abdominal pain with or without diarrhea, fatigue, and respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath.”

    “Parents who have concerns about possible COVID-19 in their children should contact their healthcare provider promptly,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Identifying this syndrome early is important because treatments are available for the serious complications.”

    “While the vast majority of children appear to have mild or asymptomatic infection, it’s important to remember that—although rare—some children can develop serious complications like these,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “Our thoughts are with the young patient, their family and the care team at Seattle Children’s, and we wish for a speedy recovery.”

    Given privacy concerns, public health officials will not release additional information on these cases.

    Healthcare providers who have cared or are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should report suspected cases to their local public health agency. Additional guidance for pediatric healthcare providers was issued by CDC on May 15.

    For more information on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health’s website or call 1-800-525-0127. More information on MIS-C and COVID-19 is also available from Seattle Children’s Hospital, Snohomish County Health District , Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Unemployment Fraud

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    Washington has experienced a surge in unemployment fraud, affecting residents across the state including Mercer Islanders.

    A surge in suspected fraudulent unemployment claims, estimated at around $1.6 million, hit as the state works to process legitimate claims for jobless benefits. The surge was so great, that the state paused unemployment payments for 2 days in mid-May while it investigated a wave of fraudulent claims.

    If an unemployment claim is falsely made using your information – name and/or social security number - there are a number of recommended steps to take:

    1. Contact the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD)

    Go to https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/unemployment-benefits-fraud to fill out the online form. You will need to provide personal information to help the state identify you, including: full name, social security number, address, date of birth, and a brief description of how you found out an imposter-fraud claim was filed. This is important: If you receive any payments from the Employment Security Department, report those and return all payments.

    2. File a Report with the Mercer Island Police Department

    To file a police report, call our non-emergency line at 425-577-5656. You will receive an incident number. Make sure to save the incident number for steps 3 and 4. It’s good practice to keep a file folder or journal with the information from this incident.

    3. Contact the Three Major Credit Bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax

    Obtain your free annual credit report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228. As a victim of identity theft, you also have the right to check your credit activity monthly. Make sure to report the fraudulent claim with the credit bureaus and provide the bureaus with the incident number from the police report you filed in step 2. Also, set up a fraud alert or have your credit frozen with each of the credit bureaus.

    Experian.com/help
    888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

    TransUnion.com/credit-help
    888-909-8872

    Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services
    800-685-1111

    Fraud Alert

    A fraud alert will make it harder for someone to open new accounts using your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues new credit in your name. The fraud alert is free and is set for one year but is renewable. To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit bureaus (that bureau must then tell the other two credit bureaus).

    Freeze your credit

    Also known as a security freeze, this free tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your report, they may not extend the credit.

    4. File a Report with the Federal Trade Commission

    Based on the information you enter, an Identity Theft report and recovery plan will be created specifically for you. This identity theft report also proves to businesses that someone stole your identity. It also guarantees you certain rights. When you make your report, have your incident number from step 2 ready. Visit the FTC’s identity theft information pages to file a report or for more information at www.identitytheft.gov.

    5. Contact the Post Office

    Check with the post office to make sure mail has not been redirected to a different address without your permission.


    Protecting Your Identity

    New reports of identity theft and unemployment fraud are coming in daily. If you haven’t received word that your information has been compromised, there are steps you can take now, to protect your identity.

    • Check your credit annually.
    • Consider freezing your credit.
    • Check your mail regularly. If you receive credit cards you have not applied for or notification of an unemployment benefits application, take action immediately.
  • Easing of Restrictions on Religious Gatherings

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    Governor Inslee announced the easing of restrictions on religious gatherings.

    May 27, 2020: Governor Jay Inslee announced the state's plan for easing certain restrictions on in-person religious services for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Washington's Safe Start reopening plan.

    Phase 1

    • Outdoor religious services on an organization’s property can be held with up to 100 individuals
    • Physical distancing and face coverings are required.

    Phase 2

    • Indoor religious services can be held at 25% capacity or with fewer than 50 individuals whichever is less.
    • Includes holiday celebrations, weddings, funerals, etc.
    • In-home services or counseling at a person’s residence with 5 total individuals or less.

    For more information or to read the guidance, click here.

  • Groveland Beach Park Temporarily Closes for Public Safety

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    On July 30, the City of Mercer Island closed Groveland Beach Park to the public, including the parking lot and dock, until further notice.

    This difficult decision is intended to minimize the frequent large gatherings that have been occurring at the park for several weeks.

    Despite extensive City outreach efforts -- notices via City social media platforms, update at the 7/21 Council Meeting, park signage, and staff connecting with park patrons -- many patrons at Groveland Beach Park have not complied with social distancing requirements, the statewide mask mandate, or adhered to the group size limit, which is currently 5 people or fewer in King County.

    Staff blocked the parking lot and placed fencing at the entrance to the park. Electronic message boards have been stationed on the street leading into Groveland Park to help reduce potential traffic congestion.

    “We know how much people enjoy getting outdoors in the hot weather and need opportunities to safely recreate,” said City Manager Jessi Bon. “But after weeks of education, mask distribution, signage, and warnings about crowding at Groveland Beach Park, this was our only option remaining to protect public safety. The pandemic is still very much underway.”

    Excessive park use was also leading to parking lot overflows into adjacent neighborhoods and dangerous conditions for cyclists and pedestrians. The situation was requiring additional patrols by the Mercer Island Police Department, drawing officers away from other work.

    Significant amounts of trash were also straining very limited parks maintenance staffing. We could use your help! Pack out your garbage and bring an extra garbage bag to help pick up any trash items someone else may have left behind.

    Most park amenities elsewhere on Mercer Island remain open. The City asks all park patrons to comply with social distancing and mask rules, pack out picnic garbage, and consider exploring our lesser-known park locations. Details on what’s open can also be found at: www.mercerisland.gov/PlaySafe


Page last updated: 06 December 2021, 11:06