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?

On January 7, 2022, DOH issued updated guidance which incorporated CDC changes around quarantine and isolation periods. These changes are complicated, and in some cases, will be impossible for the district to implement in full. This document outlines the guidelines that NSD has implemented effective this week.

Returning to School after Symptoms

If a person with COVID-19 symptoms tests negative for COVID with either a molecular (PCR) or antigen test, they may return to school following existing school policies as long as they are not a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and subject to quarantine.

If a person with COVID-19 symptoms tests negative for SARS-CoV-2 with an antigen test, it is recommended, but not required, they either have a confirmatory PCR test or repeat an antigen test within 48 hours.

If a person with COVID-19 symptoms does not get tested for SARS-CoV-2 or does not see a health care provider and is given an alternative diagnosis, they should follow the same isolation guidance as persons who test positive for SARS-CoV-2. This is irrespective of vaccination status. 

Isolation

Isolation is when someone who has confirmed COVID-19 stays home and away from others.

Any student or staff member with COVID-19 should isolate at home. This isolation guidance applies regardless of vaccination status.

If a student or staff member tests positive by either a molecular or antigen test, they can return to school when the following criteria are met:

  • 5 days have passed since symptom onset, or since positive test collection date if no symptoms are present 
  • AND -  No symptoms are present, or symptoms are resolving;
  • AND - No fever within the past 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.

Students and staff should continue monitoring for symptoms and wearing a well-fitting mask around others through day 10 (days 6-10) both in and out of school, including during extracurricular and sports activities. 

No test is required to return to school from isolation.

Quarantine

Quarantine is when someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 stays home and away from others for the recommended period of time.

Who Must Quarantine*:

Students and staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) after their last close contact with a person who has COVID-19 if they are in one of the following groups:

  • Have not completed the primary series of recommended vaccine (2 doses of Pfizer & Moderna or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson) including the two-week curative period.
  • Those who are not vaccinated or have not fully completed a primary vaccine series.

(* note that this guidance differs from DOH guidance)

Who Does Not Need to Quarantine:

Students and staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they:

  • Have received all recommended vaccine doses, or
  • Had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days. 

Duration of Quarantine:

Quarantine can end after 5 full days beginning after the last close contact (the date of last close contact is considered day 0) if :

  • no symptoms have developed and
  • after receiving a negative test result from a test taken no sooner
  • than day 5.
  • The test can be either antigen or molecular (PCR). Home tests are not allowed.

Students and staff must wait to receive a negative test result from a test taken no sooner than day 5 post-exposure and provide the negative test documentation to the school before returning.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test includes the original, a copy, or a photo of a document or other communication from the test provider or laboratory that shows:

  • The first and last names of the individual tested.
  • The type of test performed (must be molecular or antigen).
  • The date the specimen was collected (must be on or after day 5 post-exposure).
  • A negative result.

Students and staff should continue monitoring for symptoms and wearing a well-fitting mask around others through day 10 (days 6-10) both in and out of school, including during extracurricular and sports activities.

If an individual or student who is a close contact chooses not to test or does not get tested, quarantine should last for 10 days after the last close contact.

However, if any COVID-19 symptoms develop during the 10 days, the individual should isolate and get tested.

For additional information on the updated Quarantine and Isolation guidance, please visit the CDC FAQ

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.