October 26, 2022

Vol 4, Issue 7


A young girl in a red dress holds a megaphone over her head to make an announcement


DOH Guidance Summary for Schools

Many requirements shift to recommendations as the emergency proclamations lift at the end of October. Here’s what schools need to know as we head into winter.

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Six holiday pumpkins of different colors seen from above.

Get ahead of the spread.

Prepare for increased transmission this holiday season by sending students home with COVID-19 tests.

Join Us

Learning Network Event this Thursday

Join us for An In-depth Look at the DOH Guidance with Kim Sanchez, MIT, this Thursday from 10-11am. Submit your questions when you register!

Vendor update

Testing vendor leaving soon…

We can help you quickly transition to a new rapid antigen testing vendor in time for increased demand this winter.

The more you know

COVID-19 News

Levity and learning

Swab and Jab Science Club


A young girl in a red dress holds a megaphone over her head next to the words: DOH Guidance Summary for Schools

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Guidance to Prevent and Respond to COVID-19 in K-12 Schools and Child Cares has been updated as of October 25th and goes into effect on Nov 1st.

This update was made in response to the lifting of COVID-19 emergency proclamations and state of emergency. This guidance, in accordance with the Department of Health’s mission to protect and improve the health of all people in Washington State, supports K-12 schools, child care/early learning, and school partners to achieve our shared goal of maintaining safe, in-person learning and mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The K-12 and child care guidance is now restructured, condensed, and follows the CDC guidance more closely. Section 3 provides considerations that are specific to child cares.

Here’s what schools, child care centers, partners and members of the public need to know:

  • Many of the K-12 and child care COVID-19 guidance requirements have shifted to recommendations. To minimize the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses, K-12 schools and child cares should continue to use best practices and lessons learned since the beginning of the pandemic, including masking, testing, and improving ventilation, as part of everyday infectious disease prevention.
  • DOH recommends that schools and child cares develop protocols to ensure that individuals who have COVID-19 isolate from others and do not attend in-person school or child care until they have completed isolation. Students, children, or staff who test positive for COVID-19 should follow the DOH What to do if you test positive for COVID-19 guidance.
  • According to this guidance:
    • Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in the home in order to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others. See page 2 for more details.
    • Individuals can leave isolation after 5 full days if:
      • Symptoms are improving 5 days after the start of isolation, AND
      • The individual has not had a fever for 24 hours without use of fever reducing-medication
    • Students and staff should wear a well-fitting and high-quality mask for an additional 5 days (days 6 through 10) if they return to school or child care after the end of their 5 day isolation period.
    • If an individual is unable to wear a well-fitting and high-quality mask, they should continue to isolate for a full 10 days, or follow the test-based strategy listed at the bottom of page 3 to determine when to leave isolation and remove their mask.
  • Local health officers may require implementation of mitigation measures or more stringent guidance to control the spread of COVID-19 in schools or child cares (RCW 70.05.070 and WAC 246-110-020), including the exclusion of individuals who are infectious from schools or child care. Schools and child care providers are required to cooperate with public health authorities in the investigation of cases, suspected cases, outbreaks and suspected outbreaks that may be associated with the school or child care (WAC 246-101-420 & WAC 246-101-415, respectively).
  • A child care provider is required to send an ill child home or reasonably separate them from other children if there is a risk that the child’s illness will spread to other children or individuals (WAC 110-300-0205).
  • K-12 schools and child cares are required to report COVID-19 cases, suspected cases, and outbreaks to local public health (WAC 246-101-420 & WAC 246-101-415, respectively).
  • The definition of a COVID-19 outbreak has changed to 5 COVID-19 cases within a core group or 20% of students, teachers, or staff within a core group.
  • The COVID-19 Symptom Decision Trees will be updated following the release of the school and child care guidance. In the meantime, schools, child cares, and parents/guardians can continue to use this resource for steps on what to do if someone is exposed or experiences COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Schools, child care providers, and local health jurisdictions can continue to implement more protective measures to ensure that students and children safely continue in-person activities.
  • Schools and child cares are encouraged to communicate directly with staff and families to inform them of any changes to their COVID-19 prevention strategies.
  • Employers are required to follow L&I requirements regarding COVID-19 in the workplace.

If you have any questions, please contact your local health jurisdiction or the COVID-19 information hotline by dialing 1-800-525-0127, then press #.

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Get ahead of the spread.

Holiday pumpkins with the slogan "Send them home with iHealth" above.

Prepare for increased transmission this holiday season by sending students home with COVID-19 tests.

Thanksgiving break is coming up which means traveling, gathering, and a potential uptick in COVID-19 cases. Having enough testing supplies on hand to send home with families before break or test students/staff when they come back is a great way to combat the spread.

  • Consider placing your monthly order early so that they arrive in time before the holiday. Remember, it takes up to 10 business days from getting DOH approval on your order to receiving supplies.
  • Order more supplies than you normally would to prepare for the holidays.
  • Remember to communicate with families so they can take advantage of any testing opportunities that your school is providing.
  • Schools can also promote Say Yes! COVID Test where households can order up to 10 free tests per month.

Order your iHealth at-home tests through the DOH ordering portal soon to make sure you have enough inventory before Thanksgiving break.

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BD Veritor tests are leaving the supply chain. 

BD Veritor rapid antigen test and reader device.

BD Veritor COVID-19 tests will no longer be available for Learn to Return schools once current inventories have been distributed. If you are a school district that uses these tests, your L2R Program Manager can help you quickly transition to another rapid antigen testing vendor to help you prepare for increased testing demand this winter. 

Here’s what to know:

  • You can continue ordering BD Veritor COVID-19 supplies through the DOH school ordering portal until the remaining inventory has been distributed. We recommend reaching out to your Educational Service District first to check if they have BD Veritor tests available. 
  • DOH’s remaining BD Veritor COVID-19 supplies have expiration dates between October 17th and October 31stDOH has approved the use of expired COVID-19 tests, so long as they pass built-in quality controls. See the quality control section of the BD Veritor Instructions for Use for information on how to ensure the test is working properly.  
  • We recommend that schools using BD Veritor COVID-19 tests start to transition to a different test type as soon as possible to ensure that they have a steady supply of tests throughout the fall and winter when cases are likely to increase. See the Learn to Return menu of tests to learn about other point-of-care and at-home rapid antigen testing options. 

Please reach out to your ESD Coordinator or L2R Program Manager for assistance in selecting the best testing option for your school and starting the onboarding process. If you are unsure who your assigned L2R Program Manager is, email schools@healthcommonsproject.org.

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Will COVID spike again this fall? 6 tips to help you stay safe

The Seattle Times, 19 October 2022. Last year, the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus caught many people by surprise and led to a surge in cases that overwhelmed hospitals and drove up fatalities. Now we’re learning that omicron is mutating to better evade the immune system. Although we don’t know for sure that we’ll see another surge this winter, here’s what you should know about COVID and the updated boosters to prepare.

COVID-19 Variants BQ.1 and BQ1.1 Are Gaining Steam. Here’s What to Know.

Time, 17 October 2022. With another potential COVID-19 surge looming, experts are turning their attention to a pair of new variants that are steadily spreading: BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. Combined, these accounted for about 11% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. during the week ending Oct. 15. If there’s any good news about BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, it’s related to vaccination. Since BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are both related to BA.5, the new shots will “almost certainly” provide some cross protection, according to White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci. That’s yet another reason to get boosted, which less than 10% of eligible Americans have reportedly done so far.

How One School Is Beating the Odds in Math, the Pandemic’s Hardest-Hit Subject

The New York Times, 15 October 2022. Any one of the changes may seem small. But pulling them off required an almost herculean effort and cultural shifts at every level. District officials needed to shake up teaching methods and the school day to maximize instruction time; principals needed to enforce the changes and teachers had to accept having less autonomy.

How the end of federal COVID funding will shift the cost of vaccines, tests and treatment to consumers

The Seattle Times, 20 October 2022. For most of the pandemic, Americans haven’t had to worry about getting access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests. But as the federal government ends its coverage of those services early next year, the cost of care will be shifted to consumers, insurers and “safety net” providers.

Uninsured kids will still receive Covid vaccines for free after shots move to commercial market

CNBC, 19 October 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a major step Wednesday toward ensuring that kids who are uninsured can receive Covid-19 vaccines for free after the federal government shifts its immunization program to the commercial market.

False claim that CDC would require covid vaccines for kids goes viral

Washington Post, 19 October 2022. A television personality claimed on Twitter that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was set to mandate that schoolchildren get coronavirus vaccines. But the claim was wrong: The CDC cannot mandate that school children receive vaccines, a decision left up to states and jurisdictions. CDC advisers did vote on Wednesday to add coronavirus vaccines to the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC), a safety-net program that offers the shots at no cost. 

When doctors become long Covid patients – and still aren’t believed

The Guardian, 13 October 2022. Katie Bach, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution, estimates that 4 million Americans are currently out of the workforce due to long Covid. These figures illustrate the pandemic’s lasting impact on the country as a whole, yet the afflicted continue to face willful ignorance and denial.

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Cartoon handwritten text that reads: The Swab and Jab Science Club
Swab, a cartoon testing Swab is having a conversation with Jab, a cartoon vaccine.  Swab says, “What’s our first Science Club adventure, Jab? Are we learning all about COVID-19?” Jab replies, “Before we get into the science of COVID-19, we’re going back to the basics and looking at the SCIENTIFIC METHOD.” Swab says, “What a great starting point for scientific discovery!”
Masky, a blue cartoon, says: Hey Explorers - let's learn!

Scientific Method materials for Grades 1-3. Click to access full PDF!

Scientific Method materials for Grades 7+. Click to access full PDF!

Swab, a cartoon testing swab, is next to handwritten text that reads: "Seekers! Get excited..."
Jab, a cartoon vaccine, is next to handwritten text that says: "Let's dig in, Adventurers!"

Scientific Method materials for Grades 7+. Click to access full PDF!

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