Vol 3, Issue 3

7 February 2022


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

Omicron Updates

Vendor’s Corner

Learning Network

Family Hub

news: omicron wave

Swab & Jab: Word Search

Omicron updates

Outlook in the US & Washington

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

Here’s what to know:

  • A new subvariant of omicron (BA.2) is rapidly spreading in many parts of the world and has been detected in at least 57 countries.
  • Early data indicates that the omicron subvariant BA.2 is more transmissible but no more severe than the original BA.1 (omicron) variant. The new subvariant may slow the decline in new infections but will not likely lead to more spikes.
  • Data shows the rate of new omicron infections is trending down across the country, but cases, hospitalizations, and deaths remain significantly higher than peaks last winter.
  • A CDC study published on January 28th, finds that “despite omicron seeing the highest reported numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations during the pandemic, disease severity indicators, including length of stay, ICU admission, and death, were lower than during previous pandemic peaks.”
  • Children under 5 may be eligible for vaccination in the coming weeks pending FDA emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. The FDA vaccine advisory committee meets on February 15th to review safety and efficacy data submitted by Pfizer-BioNTech.
  • According to a recent study by the CDC, unvaccinated people are 23 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who have been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot.
  • The FDA has granted full approval of the Moderna vaccine (or “Spikevax”) for ages 18 and up. 
  • 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.

COVID-19 cases among children & youth in Washington state

Cases and hospitalizations continue to rise for children and youth but at a lower rate than previous weeks. Here are the key findings from the DOH report on cases among children and youth (ages 0-19) from January 9 to January 23, 2022:


  • The number of cases increased by 15%* compared with the period January 2 to January 16, 2022, rising from 68,096 to 78,087 cases.
    • *This is down from a 73% increase over the previous reporting cycle (January 2 to January 16, 2022) and a 115% increase over the period before that (December 26, 2021 to January 9, 2022).
  • Case rates are increasing (4141.3 cases per 100,000 population) compared to the previous reporting period (3611.4 cases per 100,000).
  • The highest case rates were in Educational Service District (ESD) 123 located in southeastern Washington.
  • The highest case rates were among 11 to 13-year-olds (4656.6 cases per 100,000).
  • The number of hospitalizations increased by 23%* (257 hospitalizations) compared with the previous period (209 hospitalizations).
    • *This is down from a 42% increase over the previous reporting cycle (January 2 to January 16, 2022) and an 88% increase over the period before that (December 26, 2021 to January 9, 2022).

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Vendor’s Corner!

Labor support for Test to Stay

A sustainable Test to Stay program that can quickly respond to outbreaks is essential for a safe and successful school year. L2R vendor CIC Health is now offering onsite labor support to help maximize your Test to Stay programs.

CIC Health services include:

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

Schedule a call with your L2R Program Manager today to kick-start your vendor-supported Test to Stay program with CIC Health.

iHealth Rapid Antigen Test

Current supply allocations from DOH include a rapid antigen test from iHealth. Learn how to quickly integrate this new testing solution into your current programs with our FAQs below and the iHealth Implementation Toolkit from L2R.

iHealth FAQs

How does it work?

The rapid antigen test from iHealth is very similar to BinaxNOW in how the test is administered and interpreted. Each test kit comes with a sample collection swab, a small bottle of reagent, and a testing card that provides results in 15 minutes. 

Watch this short instructional video for more details.

Does my school’s CLIA waiver cover iHealth?

Yes. There is no need to apply for another CLIA waiver if your school has already received one.

What is new about iHealth?

iHealth can be used for in-school testing and as an over-the-counter (OTC) take-home test. Some local health jurisdictions (LHJs) have approved OTC tests to be used at home for  school-based testing programs, like sports screening and Test to Stay, while others require that these tests be performed at a designated site (often a school building or district office) by a trained test observer. Talk to your LHJ to learn what the local policies are for utilizing iHealth as a take-home test. 

Are iHealth results reported in SimpleReport?

Yes. As with all L2R rapid antigen tests, results from iHealth tests conducted at school should be reported in SimpleReport. 

If schools are using iHealth as a take-home test (with approval from the LHJ), results provided by students, staff, or parents/caregivers should NOT be reported through SimpleReport. There is no reporting requirement for schools in this scenario. The household can choose to self-report using the Self-Testing Interim Guidance from DOH, summarized below: 

Use the state’s COVID-19 hotline: Hotline personnel will determine next steps based on zip code so results can be recorded and reported, and can guide callers through any questions they may have. The state hotline, 1-800-525-0127 (then press #), is available Monday from 6 AM to 10 PM, and Tuesday to Sunday (and observed holidays) 6 AM to 6 PM. Language assistance is available.

How do I add iHealth to our SimpleReport account?

  • From the SimpleReport dashboard, click the gear icon at the top right-hand side of the page.
  • Click on the “Manage Facilities” tab then select the testing facility whose information you want to edit. 
  • Click on the “Manage Devices” card to update the testing technologies you are currently using for the selected facility. 
  • Under “Device type,” click the button labeled “+Add Device” then choose “iHealth COVID-19 Rapid Test (Antigen)” from the dropdown menu.
  • Click “Save changes” at the top of the page. 

Reach out to your L2R Program Manager with additional questions about iHealth. Your Educational Service District will send a confirmation when your supply allocation is ready for pick-up.

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What’s next for schools and COVID-19?

Mark your calendars for the L2R Learning Network on March 1, 2022 from 1:00-2:00 pm PST.

This event will feature a moderated Q&A with leaders from top state agencies to examine priority issues for schools and their COVID-19 testing programs.



Guest panelists:

Lacy Fehrenbach

Deputy Secretary of Health for COVID-19 Response, Washington State Department of Health

Michaela Miller

Deputy Superintendent, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

We want to hear from you!

What topics do you most want to explore during this forum? What are your top questions and concerns for the rest of the school year and the 2022-2023 school year?

Complete this form to submit your questions.

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Website Redesign

New L2R “Family Hub” for parents & students

Refer your school community members to the L2R Family Hub for up-to-date information about COVID-19 testing in schools, vaccinations, and L2R vendors.

This site provides essential information for parents, caretakers, and students in a streamlined, user-friendly layout.

Check-out the updated and redesigned Family Hub!

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covid-19 News

A subvariant and an overwhelmed healthcare system

WHO says the new omicron subvariant doesn’t appear to be more severe than the original

CNBC News – February 1, 2022

Vaccinated and boosted people are actually less likely to spread BA.2 once infected compared with people who have the BA.1 strain. The unvaccinated, on the other hand, transmit BA.2 more efficiently than the original omicron, likely due to a higher viral load, according to the study.


What the Omicron wave is revealing about human immunity

Nature – February 2, 2022

A perfect vaccine would induce an immune response that is not only durable, but also broad enough to protect against the virus as it mutates and evolves. With Omicron raging, it seems the vaccines have lost some ground. But the immune system still has a number of tricks to deal with viruses that keep changing.

Schools scramble to feed kids as supply chain issues persist

NPR – February 1, 2022

School districts usually bid on food orders nearly a year in advance, and now they have to call around to five different vendors because they can’t get chicken or hand out frozen sandwiches when an entire kitchen staff is out sick with COVID. In a November survey by the School Nutrition Association, over 80% of districts reported disruptions like this.


Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count

The New York Times – February 2, 2022 (updated frequently)

New coronavirus cases are falling rapidly across the country. But hospitalizations remain near peak levels, and deaths are rising.


U.S. Has Far Higher Covid Death Rate Than Other Wealthy Countries

The New York Times – February 1, 2022

Since Dec. 1, when health officials announced the first Omicron case in the United States, the share of Americans who have been killed by the coronavirus is at least 63 percent higher than in any of these other large, wealthy nations, according to a New York Times analysis of mortality figures.

Pfizer and BioNTech seeking emergency use authorization from FDA for Covid-19 vaccine for children younger than 5

CNN – February 3, 2022

Since the start of the pandemic, at least 11.4 million children have tested positive for Covid-19, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Monday, with over 3.5 million cases reported in January alone. Children made up 22.8% of the total reported weekly cases for the week ending January 27.


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Word Search with Swab and Jab! 

You can find and download more Swab and Jab activity pages on the L2R Toolbox!