March 8, 2022 Update
Dear Staff, Students and Families,
This morning, the State of Washington Department of Health released Requirements and Guidance to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission in K-12 Schools, Child Care, Early Learning, Youth Development, and Day Camp Programs (linked here).
We are transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic response to COVID-19. As I mentioned in my letter on March 1, 2022, beginning Monday, March 14th, barring a new requirement from our local health department, masks will become optional in our school buildings and on school buses. Students and staff will have the choice to wear a mask or not at school, with the expectation that others’ choices will be respected. One should not make assumptions regarding someone’s beliefs or health status, nor should they comment on them. Our district will not tolerate bullying of any kind for those who choose to continue wearing or not wearing masks.
Effective March 12, 2022, we will no longer be testing in athletics, nor for students and staff to stay at school. All physical distrancing requirements will end.
As required in the guidance (see health care settings), masks (appropriate PPE) must continue to be worn by all Staff providing care, children, and visitors aged 2 years and older in the nurse/health room and in the isolation room.
To continue in this progression, Students or staff that have symptoms of COVID-19 are required to stay home and should get tested and/or see a health care provider and follow the return to work protocol. Any student or staff member that tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, is required to isolate at home following current guidelines from DOH and CDC regardless of vaccination status.
Returning to Work/School After Testing Positive
- Staff and Students may return to work/school after 5 full days of isolation if:
- Symptoms have improved or are asymptomatic, AND
- Without a fever for the past 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- If returning to work/school after the 5 full days, the individual:
- Is strongly recommended to war a well-fitted mask or face shield with a drape during days 6-10 of their isolation period OR
- Test negative with an antigen or at-home test any day after day 5. Testing beyond day 10 is not necessary.
- Any student or staff member that is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms is required to be isolated immediately, sent home and referred to diagnostic testing as soon as possible regardless of vaccination status.
- While waiting to leave the school or program the student or staff member is required to be in a designated isolation space.
- The symptomatic individual is required to wear a well-fitting mask.
South Whidbey School District will continue to update our COVID Dashboard (found on our website home page Home - South Whidbey School District (wednet.edu)). Additionally, we will notify staff of any exposure following the requirements in WAC 296-62-600. Additionally, any student who has been identified as immunocompromised, medically fragile, or otherwise at high risk for severe COVID-19 of potential exposure will be directly notified. We will continue to report all positive cases to Island County Public Health and all outbreaks to the Washington Department of Health.
South Whidbey continues to recommend good hygiene practices: Frequent handwashing and hand sanitizing. Physical distancing when possible. Our staff will continue the cleaning and disinfecting practices that have been in place.
Please continue to wear masks for the remainder of this week. Masks are still required at tomorrow’s school board workshop. Starting March 23rd, masks will not be required at the school board meetings.
Jo Moccia, Superintendent