Vol 3, Issue 2

24 January 2022


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

K-12 Test Distribution

Omicron Updates

Vendors Corner

website redesign

news: omicron wave

K-12 Test Distribution

A Message from the Washington State Department of Health

Due to widespread testng supply chain issues, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has temporarily adjusted its distribution process to support timely allocation of inventory to schools.

Here’s what to know as an L2R district:

  • The 9 Educational Service Districts (ESDs) will temporarily serve as the distribution center for all public, private, tribal, and charter schools in their region.
  • DOH will allocate rapid antigen testing supplies to ESDs on a weekly basis
  • ESDs will work directly with their districts to distribute supplies
  • Any outstanding orders in the DOH queue will be canceled
  • This distribution model begins immediately and is expected to continue through mid-February
  • ESD Superintendents will send an email to schools with next steps for coordinating local allocation and distribution

DOH has shipped a record number of tests in January due to unprecedented case volume throughout the state. Schools are in the top tier for test supplies along with local and tribal public health, critical access hospitals, and congregant living or work settings. 

At this time, DOH is unable to meet the demand for school testing, but allocations made through this temporary distribution system will be as fair and equitable as possible until supply chain issues have been resolved.

In this period of resource constraints, the DOH recommends prioritizing testing to facilitate in-person instruction.

In this period of resource constraints, the DOH recommends prioritizing testing to facilitate in-person instruction. 

Highest Priority

  • Test-to-Stay for in person learning
    • Staff who have yet to receive an additional booster dose of an mRNA vaccine
    • People 17 or younger who have not completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccination
  • Day 5 testing to support return to school from quarantine in schools that do not have Test-to-Stay
  • Testing during outbreak situations
  • Supporting testing of symptomatic staff, teachers or students (if alternative testing options are not available)

Lowest Priority

  • Routine testing requirements for extracurriculars

Reach out to your L2R Program Manager with questions or concerns about this temporary change.


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Outlook in the US and Washington 

The highly transmissible omicron variant has quickly become the dominant strain in Washington state and the rest of the world, driving unprecedented spikes in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

Here’s what you need to know:

COVID-19 cases continue to rise among children & youth in Washington state

Key findings from the DOH report on cases among children and youth (ages 0-19) from December 26, 2021 to January 9, 2022 show sharp increases in rates of infection and hospitalization:


  • The number of cases in this age group increased by 115% compared with the period December 19, 2021, to January 2, 2022, rising from 18,340 to 39,361 cases.
  • Case rates are increasing (2087.5 cases per 100,000 population) compared to 972.7 cases per 100,000 for the previous reporting period.
  • The highest case rates were in educational service district (ESD) 121 in northwestern Washington.
  • The highest case rates were among 14 to 19-year-olds (2731.6 cases per 100,000 population).
  • The number of hospitalizations increased by 88%, compared with the previous reporting period, up from 78 to 147 hospitalizations.
  • According to the CDC, booster shots are 90% effective against hospitalization due to omicron infection and also reduce the likelihood of an emergency room or urgent care visit.
  • The CDC recommends that everyone 12 years old and above receive a third dose of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna booster) and recipients of the one-dose J&J vaccine receive a second dose, preferably of an mRNA vaccine.

Use the Washington State Department of Health vaccine locator to schedule your vaccines and boosters.

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Vendor’s Corner!

CIC Health labor support for PCR

A sustainable testing program that can quickly respond to outbreaks is essential for a safe and successful school year. L2R vendor CIC Health is now offering labor support for individual PCR testing to help maximize your diagnostic testing program.

CICH labor services include:

  • Hiring and training onsite testing staff
  • Setting up online registration and consent processes
  • Ordering test kit supplies
  • Managing notification of positive results to parents/students and staff

Schedule a call with your L2R Program Manager to kick-start vendor support with CIC Health.

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Website Redesign

New Look for learntoreturn.org!

L2R frequently expands and updates our digital content to meet needs in a fast-changing environment. Our design team has now updated the L2R website to make access to key communications and materials easier than ever.

Take a moment to check out our new and improved site:

Our new landing page helps you quickly navigate to resources and timely updates regarding L2R alerts, newsletters, updated materials, and current funding or reimbursement opportunities.

The updated Menu of Tests provides key information on all our testing vendors, their testing technologies, how to integrate their tests into your program.

The Explore page provides quick navigation to toolkits, alerts, DOH guidance, FAQs, vendor information and other key resources to support your testing programs and communications.

Explore the new site!

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covid-19 News

The Omicron Wave


Booster shots are instrumental in protecting against Omicron, new C.D.C. data suggest

New York Times – January 21, 2022

The extra doses are 90 percent effective against hospitalization with the variant, the agency reported. Booster shots also reduced the likelihood of a visit to an emergency department or urgent care clinic.


Has omicron peaked in Washington? Possibly. The view from the Covid tunnel

KUOW – January 18, 2022

Epidemiologist Ali H. Mokdad says the peak of omicron transmission will occur in nearly every country within the next two to three weeks. South Africa, the UK, even New York City have already tapered off in omicron cases. Our stats are starting to look like we may have passed our peak of omicron in King County.

COVID Q&A: If one of my kids is positive, do the others have to stay home from school?

The News Tribune – January 19, 2022

If a student is exposed to a sibling with COVID and has no further close contact with the sibling, the student should quarantine at home for five days. They can return to school after the five days by providing documentation of a negative test.


WHO counts 18 million virus cases last week as omicron slows

ABC News – January 19, 2022

Scientists said last week there were early signs in the U.S. and Britain that omicron-driven outbreaks may have peaked in those countries and that cases could soon fall off sharply.


Omicron May Cut Future Severity of Coronavirus, Study Shows

Bloomberg  – January 18, 2022

A laboratory study that used samples from 23 people infected with the omicron variant in November and December found that while those who previously caught the delta variant could contract omicron, those who get the omicron strain couldn’t be infected with delta, particularly if they have been vaccinated, the researchers said.


WHO says omicron won’t be last Covid variant as global cases surge by 20% in a week

CNBC  – January 18, 2022

Most of what we’ve seen so far in areas of uncontrolled transmission has been we paid a price for the variants that emerge and new uncertainties we have to manage as we go forward.


UK lifts COVID restrictions, says omicron wave 'has peaked

The Washington Post  – January 19, 2022

Official figures showed that COVID-19 infections have dropped in most parts of the U.K. for the first time since early December. The government reported 108,069 new cases on Wednesday, about half the daily number recorded over the holidays.


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