Vol 3, Issue 5

7 MARCH 2022


The latest updates on COVID-19, testing, and vaccines curated for L2R school districts.

COVID-19 Updates

Learning Network

School-Based VAX EVENTS

Labor Support Fund

Spanish website PAges


Swab & Jab

COVID-19 updates

Evolving guidance as pandemic wanes

Federal and state guidelines are shifting to support new ways of living with the virus, refocusing safety and prevention measures on relieving strains on overwhelmed healthcare systems.

Here’s what to know:

  • The number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to plummet around the country, but daily deaths remain high (around 1,800 per day nationally)
  • The reduction in virus activity and a sharp decline in hospitalizations has prompted federal and state leaders to relax mask requirements or recommendations for areas where hospitals are not strained. 
  • On February 25th, the CDC announced new guidance that bases masking recommendations and other safety measures on local conditions:
    • The CDC released metrics that measure case rates, hospitalizations, and hospital capacity for each county in the US.

A community’s COVID- 19 level is determined by a combination of three pieces of information: new hospitalizations for COVID- 19, current hospital beds occupied by COVID- 19 patients or hospital capacity, and new COVID- 19 cases. These metrics will tell us if the level is low, medium, or high. 

Dr. Greta Massetti

COVID-19 Incident Management Team, CDC

  • Based on these CDC metrics, counties fall into low-, medium- or high-risk categories. The CDC recommends continued mask use for indoor settings and K-12 facilities in counties considered high-risk.
  • As of February 28th, nine Washington state counties are considered high-risk, 16 are medium-risk, and 14 are low-risk, including King County, the most populous county in the state.
  • The CDC has created a new tool for quickly identifying the risk level of each county in the US. If a county is determined to be high-risk, the official guidance is:

Wear a mask indoors in public

Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines

Get tested if you have symptoms

Take additional precautions for people at high risk for severe illness

Accelerated plan to end mask mandates in Washington 

On February 28th, Governor Inslee announced that the indoor mask mandate for K-12 schools and child care facilities will end at 11:59pm on March 11, 2022.

  • The end of the mask mandate does not mean that masking and other prevention measures are no longer recommended, especially in areas with high transmission and hospitalization rates. 
  • In alignment with the federal guidance, Washington counties considered high-risk should continue to mask indoors and in K-12 schools.
  • School districts can decide whether or not they want to continue a masking policy after the expiration of the state mandate. 
  • Seattle Public Schools (SPS), the largest school district in Washington, will extend its masking policy for all SPS school buildings past the expiration of the state mandate.
  • Masks will still be required in certain settings including healthcare, corrections facilities, and long-term care facilities.

This week, you can expect updated K-12 guidance from the Washington State Department of Health.

L2R will send an alert summarizing these updates and responding to specific questions raised by Washington school leaders during the Learning Network event last week.

COVID-19 cases among children & youth in Washington state

A Spanish language edition of this weekly report is now available! Lea el informe aquí.

Cases and hospitalizations among children and youth are declining sharply. Here are the key findings from the DOH report on cases among those aged 0-19 from February 6 to February 20, 2022.

  • There were a total of 10,606 cases reported for this period (562.5 cases per 100,000). 
  • The total number of cases (10,606) decreased by 71.5% compared with the period January 30 to February 6, 2022 (37, 213). 
  • The highest case rates were in Educational Service District (ESD) 171.
  • The highest case rates were among 4 to 10-year-olds (668.6 cases per 100,000).
  • There were 96 hospitalizations for this reporting period (5.1 hospitalizations per 100,000). This is down from 149 hospitalizations over the previous reporting period.

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Learning Network

Q&A follow-up

We were thrilled to have over 300 school leaders join us for the Learning Network event “What’s next for Washington schools and COVID-19?”

During the Q&A session, our attendees raised important questions about the new federal and state guidance and how it will influence day-to-day protocols and decision-making for Washington K-12 schools. Questions covered a range of topics, including: 

  • Guidance for students under the age of five who are not yet eligible for vaccinations
  • Masking recommendations for specific scenarios and specialized staff (i.e. Test-to-Stay; school nurses)
  • Physical distancing recommendations as mask mandate expires

We are working with DOH to address these specific issues and will report back to school leaders as the updated K-12 guidance is released this week. 

Look for an L2R Alert later this week with a summary of new guidance and responses to questions raised during the Q&A session!

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Vendor’s Corner

School-based vaccination events

School leaders! It’s never been easier to host a vaccination event. Learn to Return is ready to connect you with a DOH-approved vendor with deep experience in school-based mobile vaccine events. 

For your school-based vaccination event, our vendors provide:

      • Online registration and parental consent forms in English and Spanish
      • Management of logistics including ordering of vaccines, storage, and handling
      • Specialized onsite staff for vaccination administration, support, and clinical monitoring 
      • Reporting to the Washington State Immunization Information System (WA IIS)

Let L2R guide your partnership with a DOH-approved mobile vaccine vendor and your local health jurisdiction to design, promote, and host successful vaccination events for your district!

Reach out to your L2R Program Manager today to schedule an event. 

Learn more at our Vaccine FAQs page.

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Expanded timeline

DOH labor support fund

Applications to the DOH labor support fund are now open through June 2022! 

The omicon surge this winter created unprecedented demand for COVID-19 testing and support staff for Washington schools. The labor support fund has been expanded to alleviate staffing costs associated with COVID-19 testing services through the end of this school year.  Requests for support may be backdated to January 1, 2022. 

Your L2R Program Manager is ready to help you draft a budget and submit your request to DOH. Note that funding only covers activities related to COVID-19 testing and testing-related services.

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Community Resources

Spanish language sites

We are excited to announce that our family-facing webpages are now available in Spanish! 

  • The Centro de la familia (or “Family Hub”) provides comprehensive but easy-to-digest information about testing, vendors, technologies, insurance billing, sample collection (what to expect?), vaccinations, and other timely updates.
  • Our Preguntas Frecuentes Sobre Las Pruebas (“Testing FAQs”) dig into specifics about school-based testing such as insurance billing, sample collection procedures and concerns, and why testing is important for school communities. 

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covid-19 News

Seattle Public Schools decides to leave mask mandate in place, angering some parents

King5 News – March 3, 2022

(Video) “Anyone at an SPS building inside or outside must wear a mask,” even as the state mandate is lifted on March 12. 


States Ease Mask Mandates, but Should You Still Wear a Mask?

The New York Times – February 28, 2022

While protection against hospitalization is still strong, the vaccine offered almost no protection against infection, even just a month after full vaccination.

Pfizer vaccine effective against severe COVID-19 for children between 5 and 11, CDC says

PBS News – March 1, 2022

Pediatricians say the back-and-forth results may seem confusing but that parents need to understand the shots are still the best way to prevent serious illness.

New CDC guidelines and tracking COVID-19 risk in your area with Andrea Garcia, JD, MPH

American Medical Association – March 2, 2022

“I think the new CDC guidelines are being viewed by some as an off ramp to the pandemic. I think we all know in the back of our minds that a new variant could emerge, and some experts really feel that the health system and the public health systems are not equipped for another surge in cases, and we’ve also just been surprised by this virus over and over again. So, we definitely need to be prepared for that,” Andrea Garcia, JD, MPH, Director of Science, Medicine & Public Health, American Medical Association.”


CDC recommends some Americans wait longer between 1st and 2nd COVID vaccine shots,

ABC News – February 23, 2022

Several studies suggest that an extended interval between initial dosing may help improve vaccine effectiveness and decrease the small, but potential risk of myocarditis, a rare form of heart inflammation that occurs after vaccination.

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The Gang Explains: What’s with all the Different Types of Tests?

Read the full episode!