23 March 2023

Vol 5, Issue 6

 

Colorful blocks with symbols of people on them stacked in a pyramid on blue background.

The Labor Support Fund. What is covered & how to submit.

Schools can still get reimbursed for staffing costs related to COVID-19 testing and mitigation activities until the Labor Support Fund ends this summer.

Read our most frequently asked questions about what the fund covers and how to submit for reimbursement.

First time seeing this newsletter? You can subscribe here.

Kids leaving school for spring break, running toward a school bus.

How to prepare for Spring Break. Tips for COVID-19 testing.

Say Yes! COVID Test ends soon. Here’s what to know.

People walking down a city street, some wearing masks.

COVID-19 in Washington. Trends in disease activity.

Colorful blocks with symbols of people on them stacked in a pyramid on blue background.

The Labor Support Fund. What is covered & how to submit.

Schools can still get reimbursed for staffing costs related to COVID-19 testing and mitigation activities until the Labor Support Fund ends this summer.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about what the fund covers and how to submit for reimbursement. See our reporting resources, including an extended FAQ list, for more details.

What costs are eligible for reimbursement?

  • Staff time dedicated to testing of students, staff, and families
  • Staff time dedicated to related mitigation activities, such as:
    • Reporting cases
    • Communicating results and following up with families
    • Test inventory management
    • Absence tracking
    • Vaccine promotion
    • Management of COVID-19 mitigation protocols 

Can federally restricted indirect rates be added to these costs?

Yes, you can apply your federal restricted indirect rate to these reimbursements. For example, if you were approved for $100,000 total over 12 months, and you have a 4% indirect rate, you can bill up to $100,000 for salary and benefits and up to $4,000 for indirects over the 12-month period approved in your request.

What are the reporting responsibilities?

You will be asked to provide monthly costs incurred by salary, benefits, and indirects via the reporting form, and must provide documentation for salary and benefits costs. Get more details on reporting requirements.

When can I expect to receive reimbursement?

If your submission is received on or before the 9th, you will receive reimbursement on or after the 15th of the same month. If your submission is received after the 9th, you will receive reimbursement on or after the 15th of the following month.

 

Reach out to your L2R Program Manager or ESD coordinator for further assistance in navigating this process.

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Kids leaving school for spring break, running toward a school bus.

How to prepare for Spring Break. Tips for COVID-19 testing.

As families travel, mix indoors and out, and socialize more freely over the break, chances for COVID-19 transmission increase. According to CDC estimates, the variant XBB.1.5 made up over 80% of all new cases nationwide for the week ending February 25th. Though it hasn’t proved more severe than previous strains, this variant is highly contagious due to spike-protein mutations that allow it to latch onto and infect cells more effectively. 

Related: Early Estimates of Bivalent mRNA Booster Dose Vaccine Effectiveness in Preventing Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection Attributable to Omicron BA.5– and XBB/XBB.1.5–Related Sublineages

COVID-19 cases interrupt in-person learning, athletics, and other day-to-day activities for the school community. Being prepared for potential spikes in transmission will help students and staff quickly get back into the rhythm of school life after the break. 

Here are a few tips to get ahead of a potential jump in cases as kids return from Spring Break:

  • Stock up! Make sure you have enough rapid antigen tests on site to meet increased demand when kids come back from the break.
    • Order tests now through the DOH School Test Request Form. It takes up to ten days from getting DOH approval on your order to receiving your tests.
  • Hand out take-home tests to students and staff before they leave for Spring Break. 
    • Email/text families and staff to remind them to test within 24 hours of returning to school. 
  • Share the most up-to-date DOH guidance with families:
  • Encourage families to get at-home tests free of charge through the DOH Say Yes! COVID Test program and/or other federal programs.
    • Eligibility requirements have been revised recently, but most Washingtonians can still access these tests free of charge. See more details in the next section.
    • The federal free at-home test program is still active while supplies last. Every U.S. household can order four free rapid antigen tests through this service. 
    • Insurers are still required to cover the cost of eight at-home tests per covered member per month until the end of the federal public health emergency on May 11.

Reach out to your L2R Program Manager or ESD coordinator to discuss how to best prepare for Spring Break this year.

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A COVID-19 virus on a blue background with the words: New Omicron Subvariants
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Say Yes! COVID test is ending soon. Here’s what to know.

The DOH program that has provided more than 15 million free rapid antigen tests to Washingtonians over the past year will come to an end on May 11, 2023

Here’s what to know:

  • On March 13, eligibility criteria to order tests through Say Yes! COVID Test changed to focus on Washington communities that are most in need. While some areas in the state may no longer be eligible, most Washingtonians can still order five free test kits per household until May 11, 2023. 
  • To check if you are still eligible, simply type your zip code into the online form


Read the full DOH press release on the end of Say Yes! COVID Test.

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People walking down a city street, some wearing masks.

COVID-19 in Washington. Trends in disease activity.

Know your COVID-19 community levels. Are you low, medium, or high?

Recommendations:

  • Masking and screening testing are recommended best practices when your community level is high.
  • Masking is recommended for high-risk individuals when your community level is medium or high.
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COVID-19 NEWS

3 years after pandemic school closings, how were kids and parents affected?

NPR, 14 March 2023. NPR’s Sacha Pfeiffer talks to Anya Kamenetz, former NPR education reporter and author of The Stolen Year, about the COVID pandemic’s impact on students and teachers. 4-minute listen.

Washington state teacher resignations at highest level in three decades

KING5, 15 March 2023. In 2021, the analysis noted turnover was driven primarily by mid-career and later-career teachers. However, by 2022, the third year of the pandemic — there was a notable increase in teacher turnover for early-career teachers, while the rate for later-career teachers barely changed relative to 2021. Recent turnover increases appear to be driven almost entirely by teachers with less than 10 years of experience.

Can those who need it rely on King County’s in-home vaccination program moving forward?

KUOW, 16 March 2023.  To date, the people served by vaccinators include people with injuries that make it impossible to travel without an ambulance, children with autism who may be distressed getting the shots in a public space, older adults, and people with mental health conditions that make it difficult to leave home.

WA college-going rate dropped sharply during pandemic

Seattle Times, 12 March 2023. In 2020 — the latest year for which data are available — about 63% of high school graduates nationwide were enrolled in college by fall. In that same year, 51% of Washington students were enrolled within a year after graduating.

First-of-its-kind program helps unhoused kids in Washington state

CrossCut, 9 March 2023. In response to rising numbers of homeless youth here, state legislators passed a bill in 2016 that freed money to enable schools to identify more students as homeless and get them into stable housing — even if they aren’t viewed as homeless by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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