The 2021-22 School Year and COVID-19
Recognizing the importance of in-person learning for students, the Washington State governor, Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) have instructed schools to safely offer in-person education for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Guidance from the Washington State DOH was released for the 2021-22 school year and notable changes include:
- No distinction between more severe (Class A) and less severe (Class B) COVID symptoms when screening for COVID in schools. Students or staff with any COVID symptom should be isolated and tested.
- A focus on implementing testing strategies in schools to reduce the spread of COVID.
- Universal masking requirements, even for those who are vaccinated.
- Recommendations for layered mitigation measures such as masking, distancing, increased ventilation, frequent hand washing, and increased cleaning/sanitation.
- Updates to the definition of a close contact of a confirmed COVID case from 6-feet to 3-feet between students in classroom settings.
The guidance also stressed that vaccination is one of the most important steps those who are eligible can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Everyone 12 years and older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for use in people 12 years and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine are available for those 18 years and older.
COVID-19 vaccine is available at many local pharmacies and medical offices. If you have a health care provider, check to see if they’re providing COVID-19 vaccinations.
To find a location near you offering COVID-19 vaccine:
Facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Free Wi-Fi Map
In response to the impact of COVID-19, drive-in Wi-Fi hotspots provide free, temporary emergency internet access for Washingtonians who don’t have broadband service at their homes. Commerce has a Wi-Fi mapping tool on its website.
Washington 211 COVID-19 Call Center
Do you need information or answers to your questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? You can call 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211 for help. You can also text the word “Coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are. You will receive links to the latest information on COVID-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students, and more.
Do you need support due to stress from COVID-19?
Call Washington Listens, a line that provides nonclinical support to people experiencing elevated stress due to COVID-19. People who call Washington Listens will speak to a support specialist and receive information and connection to community resources in their area. The program is anonymous and no identifying information is maintained. People who staff Washington Listens will receive basic training needed to provide support to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. To reach Washington Listens, call 1-833-681-0211. Read the Washington Listens fact sheet.
Wearing a face covering is difficult, especially for youngsters, but it is an important health precaution. Wearing a face covering plus washing your hands and maintaining physical distancing will help us to be able to return students to the classroom sooner. Properly wearing a mask is easy. Wash your hands before putting on the mask. Be sure it covers the nose and mouth and is secured under the chin. Make sure you can breathe easily and if breathing becomes hard, the mask should be easy to remove. Masks should be worn by kids over age two.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.