22 November 2021

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


Learn to Return is excited to announce the L2R Impact Fund!

Throughout the pandemic, L2R has partnered with schools to support COVID-19 testing programs, navigate challenging situations, and manage outbreaks. We’ve seen many success stories in schools across the state. But we’ve also heard great ideas that can’t be implemented because of gaps in funding.

Now, we’re launching the L2R Impact Fund to address those gaps and support new ideas that can increase equitable engagement in school-based COVID-19 services.

The L2R Impact Fund is available to schools, community-based organizations, and local health jurisdictions who want to increase equitable engagement in K-12 COVID-19 services. We strongly encourage applicants to engage and foster partnerships with community-based organizations.


Interested in learning more? Let us know!

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The Learning Network

Case investigation and contact tracing

Our second Learning Network event on November 17 brought together 188 participants from 89 school districts to discuss:

        • Best practices for case investigation and contact tracing (CICT)
        • How to effectively integrate available resources
        • Knowledge sharing between school districts across the state

Here are the key takeaways from the event:

Schools experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks can request support from DOH investigators to conduct a CICT Program Assessment and help support contact identification and contact notifications. Schools may request any combination of options to best suit their needs.

It’s easy to submit a support request. For more information, please contact doh-outbreakcoord@doh.wa.gov.

Meredith Clarke, Health Services Coordinator with Spokane Public Schools, discussed how she and a skeleton crew of staff have managed to implement an efficient CICT program for a large district. She highlighted the importance of a team-based approach to case investigation in each building to quickly identify contacts, and the benefit of having a centralized, “live” spreadsheet to track all data for contact tracers.

Schools feel they have very little bandwidth for integrating process improvements in their CICT programs at this point given their already overburdened staff and the efforts they’ve made over the past several months. They voiced the need for greater support for CICT from state agencies.

While the transition has been challenging for some, schools feel that Test to Stay has helped reduce lost learning days and is worth the time needed to adjust their processes. Schools reported that parents are pleased about the Test to Stay program, because it reduces the time their children would need to spend in quarantine.


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vaccine for ages 5-11

There’s still time to get Fully Vaccinated by the New Year!

There’s still time for children to get both COVID-19 shots before the holidays – and be fully vaccinated by the new year! Children who get their first dose before the end of this week (Nov. 26) will be able to get their second dose in three weeks, which means they’ll be fully vaccinated and much more protected by Jan. 1! Data from the state’s immunization information system shows that as of November 17, 10.4% of Washington children ages 5-11 have been vaccinated – and the number continues to rise.

Pediatric vaccine supply is increasing every day across our state; however, if you can’t get an appointment this week, that’s OK! Even one dose of the vaccine will provide critical protection to kids over the holidays.

Here’s what you need to know:

Recent polls have shown some reluctance among parents, including those who are vaccinated, to get their kids vaccinated. When communicating with parents and students, remember:

Emphasize positive Messages

Keeping everyone safe is our primary focus!

Lead with Empathy

People have legitimate questions and concerns about the decision to vaccinate. Schools can provide a safe space to ask questions and share information.

Promote Young Adults as Vaccine Champions

Give young leaders the resources and platform to communicate with peers.

Meet People Where They Are

You know your community best, and what tools and methods are most effective when communicating.

Learn more about Communication Strategies for Promoting COVID-19 Vaccinations in Schools.

People with questions are encouraged to visit VaccinateWA.org/kids or talk to their child’s regular health care provider.

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News round up

Peruse the latest COVID-19 stories

What undecided parents need to know about the COVID vaccine for kids

PBS – November 15, 2021

  • Nicole Ellis, the NewsHour’s new digital anchor and correspondent, anchors live coverage on our streaming platforms. She recently spoke with parents about the questions they have about the COVID-19 vaccine for children, and joins Judy Woodruff with what she learned from that conversation.


Harvard epidemiologist: One dose of COVID vaccine is “an incredible safeguard” for kids before the holidays

CNBC – November 16, 2021

  • Most American children won’t be fully vaccinated by Christmas — but the kid-sized Covid vaccines can still make your holiday gatherings a lot safer, according to one Harvard epidemiologist.


CDC endorses COVID vaccine booster shots for all adults

New York Times – November 19, 2021

  • As infections rise, Americans over 18 will be permitted to get extra doses. But it’s not clear boosters really are needed by so many people, or that the shots will turn back the pandemic.


New COVID vaccine-or-test rules start in Washington; here’s a quick guide

Seattle Times – November 15, 2021

  • Concerts, sporting matches and other large events will now require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test for indoor events with 1,000 people or more, or for outdoor events with more than 10,000 people. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced the mandate last month after worries about rising COVID rates and specifically the impact of the more-contagious delta variant that threatened to overwhelm local hospitals.


Vaccinated in time for the holidays? The key dates for kids’ COVID shots as gatherings and travel beckon.

Seattle Times – November 8, 2021

  • For many families, the approaching end-of-year holidays will mean not only navigating the return of crowded airports and packed roads, but also scheduling vaccinations for children 5 to 11 years old who are now eligible for coronavirus shots. Get the details here. 


US COVID cases start to rise again as the holidays approach

Seattle Times – November 16, 2021

  • Coronavirus infections are rising in more than half of all states. Experts warn this could be the start of an extended winter surge.


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The Gang dives into swab safety!



Be THANKFUL with the Gang!


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