11 October 2021

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


Addition of AccessBio CareStart Rapid Antigen Test

As the demand for rapid point-of-care testing grows, and BinaxNOW availability becomes more limited, Learn to Return (L2R) is adding AccessBio’s CareStart Rapid Antigen Test to our menu of tests.

The CareStart test is very similar to BinaxNOW. Specimens are collected with a shallow nasal swab, and results are available within 10 minutes. Like BinaxNOW, schools are required to report positive results in SimpleReport.


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Responding to School Outbreaks

Lessons from the first L2R Learning Network event!

We are excited to share that 167 superintendents, nurses, ESD regional testing coordinators, and others joined us for the first Learning Network session, “Diagnostic to Outbreak: How to Rapidly Scale Your Diagnostic Testing Program to Respond to School Outbreaks.”

Watch the full recording below to gather insights about outbreak mitigation through testing and contact tracing and learn how Ocosta Elementary School scaled its testing program to rapidly address outbreaks.

Video Index:

  • Introductory remarks from Health Commons (0:00-04:50), OSPI (04:51-07:41), and DOH (07:42-12:03)
  • Learning Session with Rebecca Pizzitola (Health Commons): Responding to COVID-19 Outbreaks in School (12:17-27:10)
  • Case Study on Ocosta Elementary School with Testing Coordinator Kimberly Stoll-French (27:11-36:00)
  • General Q&A and report from breakout discussions* (38:20-57:45)

*Breakout discussions were not recorded.

You can download the toolkit here:



contract tracing and staffing

Attendees noted challenges with managing contact tracing in the wake of increased transmission, and difficulties recruiting staff to oversee this work even with the labor support (or staffing support) fund from DOH.

If you have implemented successful strategies to mitigate these issues or have helpful tips that you can share with other districts, please reach out to Health Commons at schools@healthcommonsproject.org. We will share insights through the L2R Learning Network

Our next event will take place in November — stay tuned for more details. Thanks to everyone who joined the first event! 

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New “Outbreak” Definition & Other Changes

As of October 4, 2021, DOH has updated it’s K-12 COVID-19 Requirements to include the following:


  • Updated K-12 school outbreak criteria
      • In general, an outbreak is now defined as 3 or more positive cases within a specified core group* or multiple cases comprising at least 10% of students, teachers, or staff within a specified core group. (See detailed definition on page 13 of the DOH Requirements).
      • *A “core group” includes but is not limited to extracurricular activity, cohort group, classroom, before/after school care, etc.

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Latest COVID-19 News

Peruse the latest local and national COVID-19 news with this curated reading list.

More than 5.5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19, with 20% of all child cases coming since this school year began, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Washington Post – October 5, 2021

More than 5.5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19, with 20% of all child cases coming since this school year began, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

Some Washington workers prepare to leave jobs over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

King5.com/King-TV – October 5, 2021

“October 4 was the last day employees could get vaccinated with the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated by the deadline.”

Washington City Has Spent More Than a Year Testing Poop for COVID-19; Was It a Good Investment?

The Chronicle – October 5, 2021

“Testing poop for COVID-19 sounds strange, but testing wastewater for viruses and drugs is actually a decades-old technology, [Kent] Oostra [owner of Ferndale-based Exact Scientific Services] said. It’s been used in other countries to track the virus that causes polio, a debilitating disease.”

As rural Washington shoulders fifth COVID-19 wave, anger over masks, vaccines marks politics of the pandemic

The Seattle Times – October 1, 2021

“Fueled by the more contagious delta variant, the COVID-19 wave since July 1 has swamped rural hospitals and required hundreds of emergency transfers of patients to larger counties, like King, Pierce and Spokane.”

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers confirmed Monday in Washington state

Tri-City Herald – October 4, 2021

“Statewide totals from the illness caused by the coronavirus are 667,834 cases and 7,807 deaths as of Monday. Those numbers are up from 660,910 cases and 7,765 deaths as of Friday. The case total includes 75,154 infections listed as probable.”

COVID, staffing shortages pose challenge as schools return to in-person learning

My Edmonds News – September 30, 2021

“We’ve been working hard to get back to school and keep kids in school, but it’s been as difficult as we’ve seen it compared to the springtime,” Superintendent Dr. Gustavo Balderas said. “We have been very, very impacted with (a) lack of staffing and people taking leaves.”

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Check out the latest updates to the L2R Toolbox!

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The Gang Goes to School

Swab, Jab and Masky help keep their friends safe at school!