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Updated SVSD COVID-19 Protocols – Effective March 12, 2022

The following SVSD safety guidelines are based on Washington State’s Department of Health (DoH) Updated Requirements and Guidance to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission for K-12 schools, child care and early learning, effective March 12, 2022. These requirements are not set by local districts or school boards, but are required in schools by DoH.   

 

MASKS

Well-fitting masks protect the wearer as well as others and help to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Masks are no longer universally required in schools, but remain an option, if desired. Students and staff choices regarding mask wearing will be respected.

There will be times when masks are temporarily required, such as when in the health room or isolation room, or for groups if required by Public Health during clusters/outbreaks. Also, masks are strongly recommended for days 6-10 after an individual returns from COVID positive isolation, unless they have a negative COVID test.

 

VACCINATIONS

Vaccination is the most effective prevention strategy available to protect vaccine-eligible children and adults from the most severe outcomes due to COVID-19 illness. (To find a nearby provider, use this vaccine locator.)

 

All employees and volunteers in educational settings are required to be fully vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption. 

Student vaccinations (for ages 5 and above) are recommended by Public Health, but not required at this time. If your student is vaccinated/boosted, please notify your school nurse through our Student Vaccine Verification form, to aid in contact tracing, notification, and return to school guidance.

 

SYMPTOMATIC / ISOLATION / HEALTH ROOM

Students and staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 are required to stay home, should get tested and follow the return to school/work protocols. Please see the What to do if a Person is Symptomatic flowchart (DoH p. 1) for additional information.

 

Any student or staff who reports or exhibits COVID-19-like symptoms at school is required to be immediately isolated from others, sent home, and referred to diagnostic testing as soon as feasible, regardless of vaccination status. Masks must be worn in school health/isolation rooms. Students with symptoms waiting to be sent home must wear a mask. 

 

COVID POSITIVE

Any student or staff who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to isolate at home, regardless of vaccination status.  The isolation period is 10 full days from the start of symptoms or the date of positive test. See Calculating Your Isolation Period for additional information. 

 

The individual may return to school after 5 full days of isolation if:

  • Their symptoms have improved or they are asymptomatic, AND
  •  They are without a fever for the past 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications.

AND IF returning to school/care days 6-10, the individual is required to: 

  •  Wear a well-fitted mask or face shield with a drape during days 6-10 of their isolation period, consistent with CDC guidance, OR 
  • Test negative with an antigen or at-home test any day after day 5 before returning without a mask. Testing beyond day 10 is not necessary. 

If the individual is not able to wear a well-fitted mask or face shield with a drape, AND does not test negative, they are required to continue isolating through the end of their isolation period (through day 10).

 

CLUSTERS and OUTBREAKS

Clusters and outbreaks are when multiple COVID-19 cases of students and/or staff occur within a specified core group and are epidemiologically linked in the school setting or a school-sanctioned extracurricular activity.  If directed by local public health, enhanced mitigation efforts such as screening testing (Test to Stay) and/or mask wearing, may become recommended or required to prevent disease transmission. 

 

CONTACT TRACING and EXPOSURE NOTIFICATION

Contact tracing is no longer required, however, schools are required to directly notify any student who has been identified as immunocompromised, medically fragile, or otherwise at high risk for severe COVID-19 of potential exposure. 

 

For the rest of the general school population, schools are required to have a process in place to inform families and staff when there are cases or outbreaks in the school. Families may be informed of cases and outbreaks. In our district this will be done via our weekly online dashboard. Group notifications may also be made in the case of a cluster or outbreak and contract tracing may also be done in these situations.

 

CLOSE CONTACTS/EXPOSURE to COVID-19

Regardless of vaccination status, students and staff who were potentially exposed to COVID-19 should:

  • Monitor for symptoms, AND
  • Consider wearing a well-fitted mask for 10 days after the last date of exposure, especially during activities like high-risk indoor sports, performing arts, etc., AND
  • Get tested 3-5 days after their last exposure. If they test positive, they must isolate.

Exposed students and staff may continue to take part in all in-person instruction and care, including sports, performing arts, and other extracurricular activities, as long as they are not symptomatic. If an exposed student or staff develops symptoms, they are required to immediately isolate at home.

 

See What to do if You Receive an Exposure Notification or are Identified as a Close Contact flowchart (DoH p. 2) for additional information.

 

TEST TO STAY

Test to Stay has been an alternative to at-home quarantine to keep children in school if they are not ill or positive for COVID-19. While contact tracing is no longer required, will we continue offering testing to ensure uninterrupted, full-time, in-person learning.

 

Test to Stay screening protocols are recommended, but not required, for:

  • Higher risk exposures [e.g., high-risk indoor sports, high aerosol-generating]
  • Household exposures, which provide opportunities for prolonged and repeated exposures
  • Known exposure of an individual not up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Individuals who are at high risk for significant disease
  • During clusters and outbreaks to maintain in-person instruction

Take-home test kits are available to families wishing to participate in Test to Stay.

 

Test to Stay Protocol

Individuals may continue to attend school and participate in extracurricular activities while completing a Test to Stay protocol, if they:

  • Are tested serially over a 10-day period (e.g. twice per week) AND
  • Are asymptomatic

Individuals completing a Test to Stay protocol are strongly recommended to monitor for symptoms and wear a well-fitting mask when around others. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 at any time, they must isolate at home and follow DoH isolation guidance.

 

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING

K-12 schools are required to ensure access to timely diagnostic testing for staff and students with symptoms or who were potentially exposed and want to test. 

 

SVSD take-home COVID-19 test kits will continue to be available for families who have a symptomatic student at home.

 

RETURN TO WORK/SCHOOL PROTOCOL

To help you determine when to safely return to school/work after having symptoms or an exposure, please see:

 

REPORTING

All cases of COVID-19 in schools are required to be reported to Public Health/DOH. Schools and the general public are required to cooperate with public health authorities in the investigation of cases and outbreaks that may be associated with the school.

 

Each Friday afternoon, SVSD has reported confirmed in-school cases and transmissions among staff and students on our District COVID-19 Dashboard. Per the latest guidance from Public Health, with a decreased emphasis on contact tracing, we will move to reporting confirmed in-school cases and outbreaks at each district site. 

 

Posted March 12, 2022