Response Protocols

Notifying Families of a Positive Test

In the event of a confirmed case, schools will notify all families and staff via email. All notifications, and communications made by the school district will be completed in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Schools will communicate close contact cases to only those individuals who came in close contact with someone who has tested positive. This communication will be sent via email, text message and phone call.

Districtwide data showing all confirmed cases and quarantines is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard.

 

If a Student Becomes Sick

Northshore School District will use the Seattle & King County Public Health COVID-19 Return to Work/School Flow Chart to ensure the health and safety of students, families and staff.

If a student experiences COVID-like symptoms while attending school:  

  • Teacher or staff excuses student(s) from classroom, cohort/pod or area within the school and notifies COVID-19 Supervisor and/or school nurse. 
  • COVID-19 Supervisor, school nurse, or their designee takes the student(s) to the designated isolation room/area until transportation can be arranged to send the student(s) home or to seek emergency medical attention; AND
    • Note: If multiple ill students or staff must be placed in the same isolation room/area, NSD will ensure mask use and that they maintain at least 6 feet of distance between them. 
  • COVID-19 Supervisor or school nurse notifies parent(s), guardians or caregiver(s) of ill student(s). 
  • Parent(s), guardian(s), or caregiver(s) picks up student(s). The student(s) should consult with their healthcare provider for evaluation and determination if testing is recommended. 

Child with Symptoms/Siblings

The child with symptoms should be isolated and sent home as soon as possible. Caregivers of the sick child should contact their medical provider and get the child tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. Siblings who are not exhibiting symptoms do not need to be quarantined or sent home at that time. The siblings can continue to attend school or childcare but should monitor their health. If any symptoms arise in the siblings, they should also stay home and their caregivers should contact a healthcare provider.

If the original sick child tests positive for COVID-19, that child must stay home and isolate. At that time all household members, including the siblings, would be considered close contacts and must also quarantine (stay home, not go to work, school or childcare). 

The Return to School Following Illness Exposure Guidance in the King County Schools COVID-19 Response Toolkit help people calculate the isolation and quarantine periods for all household members.

 

If a Staff Member Becomes Sick

If a staff member experiences COVID-like symptoms while attending school:  

  • Teacher or staff notifies COVID-19 designated Supervisor or school nurse.
  • COVID-19 Supervisor, school nurse, or their designee takes staff to designated isolation room/area until transportation can be arranged

Note: If multiple ill staff must be placed in the same isolation room/area, NSD will ensure mask use and that they maintain at least 6 feet of distance between them.

 

If a Student or Staff Member Tests Positive for COVID-19

If a student or staff member is diagnosed with a confirmed* COVID-19 illness, the school should be notified immediately (preferably the building COVID-19 Supervisor or school nurse). Once notified, the building COVID-19 Supervisor will initiate a COVID-19 Positive Case Response Protocol.

*A confirmed case is defined as a person (with or without symptoms) who received a positive result from a COVID-19 laboratory test.  

If the staff or student who tested positive is currently at the school during their infectious period, they should report to the school isolation room and/or return home immediately regardless of if they are experiencing symptoms. If a staff member or student is not in the building, they should not come to work or school.

 

When Can You Return to School?

For staff/students who are experiencing one or more COVID-19 symptoms for any duration, without known close contact exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case : 

  • If PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction - also known as a molecular test) testing for COVID-19 is not performed or are awaiting test results: stay home until 10 days have passed since symptoms first showed up AND at least 24 hours after the fever has resolved (without the use of medications) AND symptoms have improved.  
  • If PCR testing for COVID-19 is negative: stay home until 24 hours after the fever has resolved (without the use of medications) AND symptoms improve.  
    • If you have not had known exposure AND have a clear, non-respiratory alternative diagnosis for your symptoms from a healthcare provider, follow provider direction and isolate per condition diagnosed (whichever is longer) and you may return to work or school following the guidance from your health care provider.  You may be asked to provide a copy of healthcare provider alternative diagnosis documentation prior to return to the building. 

In some instances, staff/students may become ill at school with a single, short term symptom. A short-term symptom is defined as only one of the following listed symptoms: fatigue; headache; muscle pain or body aches; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; or diarrhea. If a person has only one of these symptoms AND the symptom begins and resolves in less than 24 hours AND there is no known close contact COVID-19 exposure, they may return to school if the symptom has resolved.

For staff/students who are experiencing one or more COVID-19 symptoms for any duration, with known *close contact exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case : 

  • If PCR testing for COVID-19 is negative or awaiting test results or has not been tested: 
    • Stay in quarantine for 14 days after your last contact. This is the safest option.
    • If the first option is not possible, stay in quarantine for 7 full days beginning after your last contact and if you receive a negative test result (get tested no sooner than day 5 after your last contact). This option depends on availability of testing resources and may not be recommended in some settings.

“Close Contact” includes anyone in one or more of the following categories:

  • Been within 6 feet (2 meters) of a person with COVID-19 for a combined total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period
  • Live in the same household as a person with COVID-19
  • Cared for a person with COVID-19
  • Been in direct contact with saliva or other body secretions from a person with COVID-19 (for example: been coughed on, kissed, shared utensils, etc.)

In a K-12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were at least 3 feet away from an infected student when

  • Both students were wearing face coverings/masks AND
  • Other prevention strategies were in place
  • This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you have no symptoms, Public Health recommends the following:

  • Stay in quarantine for 14 days after your last contact. This is the safest option.
  • If the first option is not possible, stay in quarantine for 7 full days beginning after your last contact and if you receive a negative test result (get tested no sooner than day 5 after your last contact). This option depends on availability of testing resources and may not be recommended in some settings.

*Fully vaccinated people (2 weeks after last vaccination dose) with no symptoms do not need to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure. Watch for symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, follow flowchart.

For staff/students who have been exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms Public Health recommends the following before returning to work/school:

  • Stay in quarantine for 14 days after your last contact. This is the safest option.
  • If the first option is not possible, stay in quarantine for 7 full days beginning after your last contact and if you receive a negative test result (get tested no sooner than day 5 after your last contact). This option depends on availability of testing resources and may not be recommended in some settings.

If you are out of work/school due to exposure quarantine and you end up testing positive for COVID-19: 

  • Notify the school/department right away  
  • Follow the guidance below for staff/students who have tested positive

If staff/students develop symptoms during their 7-14 day quarantine period for an exposure: 

  • Consult your healthcare provider  
  • Seek testing for COVID-19 
  • Alert your school administrator and/or nurse

Staff/students who have tested positive for COVID-19 should remain at home and should not return to school until:  

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms began or since the date of positive PCR test if having no symptoms 
  • AND at least 24 hours have passed since fever resolved (without the use of fever-reducing medications) 
  • AND other symptoms have improved.  

Staff/students experiencing COVID-like symptoms, but who have test results that are inconclusive, treat the case as if the person tested positive. The person cannot go to school and should remain in quarantine until:  

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms began  
  • AND at least 24 hours have passed since fever resolved (without use of medications) 
  • AND other symptoms have improved.  

If the same person takes a second test and receives a negative COVID test (after a prior inconclusive test), they can return to school after:  

  • At least 24 hours after the fever has resolved (without the use of fever-reducing medications) 
  • AND symptoms have improved 
  • If they are a close contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19 and have a negative COVID-19 test, they must still quarantine for 7-14 days. 

If you are concerned about your health or possible impacts on school or work attendance, notify your healthcare provider (for ANY health concerns), supervisor (staff) or school nurse (students).  

Resources for Staff/Students: 

Section Material Sources: 

 

If There is a COVID-19 Case at School

To protect staff and student privacy (HIPAA and FERPA), Northshore School District will not share names or health information of students and staff. Instead the school and school district will work with public health officials on communication and the next steps, which may include self-isolation, self-monitoring, contact tracing, and testing. 

Following a positive case, a thorough cleaning of the impacted areas will be conducted. If this cleaning disrupts normal school operations, families will be notified about any scheduling changes. 

Students and staff members should self-monitor to ensure they are not developing symptoms. If the individual had close contact with any students or staff members who may need testing, those individuals will be contacted.

 

What is Exposure?

Close contact Is defined as a person matching any of the following descriptions:

  • Living in the same household as a person with COVID-19
  • Caring for a person with COVID-19
  • Being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a combined total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period, OR
  • Being in direct contact with saliva or other body secretions from a person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

In a K-12 indoor classroom, the close contact definition excludes students who were at least three feet away from an infected student when 

  • A) both students were wearing face coverings/masks and 
  • B) other prevention strategies were in place. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you have no symptoms, it is recommended you stay in quarantine for 14 days after your last contact. This is the safest option.

*Fully vaccinated people (2 weeks after last vaccination dose) with no symptoms do not need to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure. Watch for symptoms for 14 days.

 

Contact Tracing

Staff/students are asked to notify their school/department staff of positive test results so exposure risks to any potential close contacts can be determined. Building COVID Supervisors will initiate the Positive Case COVID Response Protocol immediately upon report of any positive COVID test. The response procedure includes contact tracing measures in order to identify anyone who had close contact with an infected person while they were contagious (two days prior to the start of symptoms OR the date of positive confirmatory test result). Any close contacts are informed of the potential exposure and advised to stay home (quarantine) for 14 calendar days as per recommendations of local health authorities.