Staying Safe at School
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
How Germs Spread
Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:
- Touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands
- Touch a contaminated surface or objects
- Blow your nose, cough or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects
Key Times to Wash Hands
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
- Before and after you put on, take off, or adjust your face covering.
- Before you touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before and after eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
The guidance for the list of key times to wash hands was developed based on data from a number of studies. There can also be other times when it is important to wash hands.
Additional information on hand washing can be found at these links:
All classrooms will be provided with disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer that have been approved by the EPA for effectiveness and low toxicity. Additional disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be made available in key administrative areas.
- All staff, students, and guests must wear masks indoors at school (including during P.E.) and on busses. The mask must fully cover the mouth and nose at all times other than when eating or drinking.
- Requirements for Outdoor Spaces
- Elementary students: When outside at recess, students are expected to wear their masks when playing in close physical proximity. Students may remove their masks in designated areas; during these opportunities, they must maintain a physical distance of at least six (6) feet.
- Secondary students: When outside during passing periods, they may remove their mask. During lunch times or nutrition breaks, students may remove their masks when actively eating or drinking whether indoors or outdoors.
- At all levels: Masks are required for outdoor PE classes. Teachers should provide opportunities for students to remove their mask, while physically distanced from peers, at various times during PE.
- Students will provide a cloth mask from home.
- See CDC Guidance on face coverings.
- Cover the nose and mouth and stay in place while talking and moving around (look for masks with a nose wire)
- Be thick enough fabric or multi-layered so that light is not visible through the fabric
Masks should not:
- Have exhalation vents
- Be single-layered fabric
- Be gaiter-style mask
- Have gaps around the sides of the face or nose
- Be worn if wet or dirty
Enforcement of staff and students face covering compliance is the responsibility of the building COVID-19 Supervisor.
Masks for Students
- The District will provide varying sizes of masks for students in the event their face covering from home is forgotten, soiled, lost or damaged.
- Face shields, which meet DOH specifications, or other alternatives will be provided to students who are unable to wear a mask because the individual has a medical condition or disability that makes wearing a facial covering inappropriate or because the individual is deaf or hard of hearing, or is communicating with someone who relies on language cues such as facial markers and expression and mouth movements as a part of communication. Other alternatives to cloth masks will be determined on a case by case basis at each building in consultation with the building COVID-19 supervisor.
- Younger students must be supervised when wearing a cloth face covering or face shield and will need help putting them on, taking them off, and getting used to wearing them.
- Students may remove masks to eat and drink, and must replace them immediately upon finishing and before leaving the eating area.
Students in grades K-12 will participate in District-provided regular COVID-19 testing, unless their families elect to opt out of this testing. Any symptomatic student at a District facility may be administered rapid antigen testing with parent consent. Students who opt out of rapid antigen tests may be subject to exclusion from District property until the conclusion of any quarantine period and/or testing process, per guidelines of local, state, and federal health authorities.
All students and staff must ultimately pursue PCR testing if symptomatic, or considered a close contact of a COVID-positive person, and/or complete the recommended quarantine period for persons with symptoms or persons with close contact.
The District will implement a pool testing system. Students will be tested in class on a weekly basis. Batches will contain up to 10 samples, and therefore each classroom may contain multiple batches. Staff will also be tested weekly. Staff assigned to specific programs or classrooms will include their samples with one of the batches from the program or classroom to which they are assigned. Educators not assigned to specific programs or classrooms (i.e., STSs, ESAs, nurses, counselors, school assistants, 1:1 paraeducators, etc.) will include their samples with a classroom batch.
Classroom teachers and staff for all in-person programs will observe student COVID testing and collect samples upon completion.
Opt-in consent will not be required for batch testing students or staff with CIC Health. Families & staff may opt out through the CIC Health opt-out form. To ensure enough time for schools to prepare testing materials, opt-out forms must be completed by 10:00 a.m. the day prior to testing. Students may also opt out at the time of testing. Students may not be forced to test.
If any student (or staff) has had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, they should not be included in the batch test. After a person has tested positive for COVID-19, their body will continue to “shed” the virus and should not test for 90 days as it could create a false positive result.
Staff who are unvaccinated will not have the option to opt-out of batch testing.
Each student is currently scheduled to be tested once per week. Testing will occur on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday of each week. Testing schedules are as follows:
- BOTHELL HS/ATI Program
- Innovation Lab HS
- Secondary Academy for Success/ATP Program
- Canyon Creek
- Canyon Park MS
- Crystal Springs
- Frank Love
- Maywood Hills
- Shelton View
- Skyview MS
- INGLEMOOR HS
- Kenmore MS
- Northshore MS
- Kenmore Elem
- NORTH CREEK HS
- Leota MS
- Ruby Bridges
- WOODINVILLE HS
- Timbercrest MS
- Cottage Lake
- East Ridge
- Hollywood Hill
- NN/NFP at Bear Creek Campus
Each batch contains up to 10 samples. Any actions taken as a result of a positive batch, will ONLY affect those in the positive batch. No action is necessary for other batches from the same class with no positive results, or for individuals who opted out of testing or students who were absent on the day of testing. Additional action may be warranted when the positive case is identified and contact tracing completed.
Actions for a positive batch result:
- Fully vaccinated persons (staff & students) included in the batch do not have to quarantine, but must take a PCR test within 3 days of notification and present results as soon as possible.
- Unvaccinated persons included in the batch must quarantine until they receive a negative PCR test.
- Unvaccinated students/staff will be sent home immediately based on parent availability upon known batch results if students are in school at the time. If parent pick is not an option, consult your COVID Supervisor for instruction.
Rapid Antigen Testing
Antigen tests will not be accepted for confirmatory testing. Individuals requiring a test, must pursue a PCR test.
- Students or staff who are included in a batch test that has a positive test result will be invited to attend one of NSD’s PCR testing days for confirmatory testing.
- Confirmatory testing will not be required, however, students or staff who decline to do confirmatory testing (within the required window) must quarantine for the full 14-day quarantine.
- Staff/students included in a positive batch should pursue confirmatory PCR testing either on their own, or attend the next district hosted PCR testing event.
- NSD hosted PCR testing will take place at Pop Keeney Stadium on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday each week between 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
On-site Rapid Antigen Testing
School nurses may administer a rapid antigen test to a student (with parent consent) or staff member who the nurse determines is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 at school, according to local health guidelines.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is based upon several precautionary factors when physical distancing and other protective measures are not feasible or effective. The guidance for PPE use is determined by local health officer/department guidance, L&I requirements based on the role and the need to protect workers and the level of risk associated with the COVID-19 contagion.
Specific information and training will need to be offered in order to teach use of PPE. The use of personal protective equipment will vary depending on the role or situation in the educational setting and may include: surgical masks, KN95 masks, N95 masks, eye protection, face shields, gowns and gloves.
Families may see staff members wearing different levels of PPE based upon the task or job the staff member is assigned to.
Per OSPI’s K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for the 2021-2022 School Year, the District will implement protocols to maintain a minimum separation as recommended by state and county health departments between all employees, students, and others to the maximum extent feasible. Building-specific strategies to increase physical distancing may include:
- Rearranging desks/tables to maintain 3 feet of space between students, to the degree possible
- Keeping students in cohorts/clusters, to the degree possible
- Reducing the number of staff/students in hallways at any time, to the degree possible
- Assigning seats, to the degree possible
- Limiting access to essential visitors or volunteers
Each building should continue to use signage to encourage physical distancing to lower the risk of transmission. Building Administrators will work with Facilities for traffic flow and sign placement that is specific to their building.
Some staff will work regularly with multiple groups of students such as elementary specialists and secondary teachers. The layering methods of all of these interventions help to decrease risk of transmission of COVID-19. This may include:
- Compliance with mask wearing, physical distancing, hand washing, and other precautionary measures.
- Regular cleaning and disinfecting of the learning spaces.
Drinking fountains will be closed. Water will be available to students to fill water bottles through such means as classroom faucets, water bottle filling stations or water dispensing stations.
Food and Nutrition
Free lunch and breakfast will be available when students return to campus in the Fall. Students can choose to access school meals or may bring their own. Free breakfast and lunch meals will be available to all students through the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
- Although there will be no charge for breakfast or lunch reimbursable meals, the Food & Nutrition department will need to track the meals served at the time of service.
- Special diet requests must be arranged in advance through the Director of the Food & Nutrition Services.
- Only complete breakfast or lunch meals will be free. Incomplete meals or a la carte items must be charged to student accounts.
- Maximize distance between students to the degree possible when masks cannot be worn, such as when eating lunch
- 3 ft physical distancing will be required in lunch lines, to the degree possible
- Stickers will be adhered to the floor for appropriate distancing markers
- Designated walking paths will be marked where necessary
- Plexiglass or other physical barriers are not required between food service staff and students
- Masks are required by staff and students in the lunch line
- Masks may only be removed when seated and eating
- Students will sanitize their hands as they enter the lunchroom or service area
- Hand sanitizing stations will be set up in each food service serving space
- Standard sneeze guard/food covering requirements will be in effect (no additional COVID-related food covering or physical barriers required)
- Standard cleaning/sanitizing requirements will be followed in the kitchen and lunchroom areas (no additional COVID-related cleaning required throughout the day)
A la carte
- Milk only will be available for purchase at all levels for students who have money in their account.
- A la carte breakfast and lunch items will be available for purchase at the Middle School and High School levels for students who have money in their account.
- All COVID-related physical distancing and eating requirements will be enforced with a la carte food items as well as school meals.
Transporting Students on School Buses
Student transportation includes different sizes and styles of school buses, cars and vans. When school starts, parents/guardians must evaluate their child for symptoms of illness each day PRIOR to sending their child to the bus stop or school. Student Health Checks will not be done at the bus stop or on the bus.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for Bus Drivers and Students:
Every NSD Transportation Department vehicle assigned to transport a student will carry a small PPE packet (extra disposable face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and gloves).
- The driver will properly wear a face mask anytime a passenger is on the bus.
- All students ages 3 years & up will properly wear a face mask on the bus. It is encouraged for students in special programs to wear a face covering if possible.
- Children under 2 years of age are excluded from the requirement
- With a doctor's note if a medical condition prevents wearing a mask
Windows and roof hatches will remain slightly open to increase ventilation along with airing out the bus between shifts.
- Students should dress warmly as several windows will be lowered and roof hatches will be slightly open to provide ventilation and increase air circulation.
- The driver’s window remains closed while the bus is in motion and if possible, defrost fans turned on and facing towards the driver to keep air flowing past the driver’s area.
The number of passengers assigned to one bus is limited (depending on size of the bus).
- The elementary level bus will have younger students in the front half of the bus and older students sitting towards the back.
- To limit sit time on the bus, students should depart the bus soon after arriving at the school load zone.
Frequent cleaning procedures for commonly touched surfaces on the bus are required.
- After each run, the driver will wipe down high touch surfaces (handrail, seat tops and securement equipment, etc.) with a disposable disinfectant wipe.
- At the end of the day, the driver will clean the inside of the bus, including the driver’s area (clean handles, steering wheel, key, control panel, radio knobs, etc. with disinfectant wipes).
- If a student appears to be ill and alone at the stop, the driver will call dispatch for instructions.
- If a student appears to be ill while onboard the student will be assigned to a specified seat. The driver will call dispatch to notify the school and the student will be sent to the health room upon arrival.
- Eating and drinking on the bus will not be permitted at any time.
- Reminders: Frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer and not to touch face.
Although not required, masks are strongly recommended for unvaccinated individuals when outdoors in crowded spaces or when in close contact with people from outside their household for a sustained period of time, as the risk of COVID-19 infection increases with the duration and closeness of contact between individuals. Schools should support students and staff who choose to wear a face covering outdoors.
Schools will develop plans to promote student groups staying together and physical distancing during non-instructional time.
- This could include staggering of break times and zoning of outdoor spaces for groups of students.
- Play structures may be open for use during recess, but could be included in zoning plans to allow maximum physical distancing while in use.
- Schools will develop site-specific plans to promote physical distancing and reduce the risk of infection.
At the start/end of recess breaks each day, all available school doors will be utilized to support physical distancing measures. Once students are in class, doors other than the main entrance may be locked for security purposes.
Performing arts experiences will be aligned with Washington State Department of Health guidance as established in the Requirements for K-12 Schools 2020-2021 document.
Many students in performing arts engage in activities that are high aerosol-generating and increase the risk for COVID-19 transmission. The purpose of this guidance is to ensure all students have access to their chosen performing arts course. Face coverings/masks are not required when outdoors. Distancing of at least 3 feet is also recommended outdoors. When indoors, universal masking of all students and faculty is required, per the Secretary of Health’s Mask Order.
- Universal masking with appropriate material – MERV13 or 3-layer medical face mask or similar material – is required by all students and staff in performing arts classes and while participating in performing arts activities. Masking with MERV13 or 3-layer medical face mask or similar material is the best way of reducing aerosols from circulating in indoor spaces.
- Aerosol-producing musicians, e.g., singers, woodwinds and brass, speech/debate, and theater performers are required to wear appropriate masks/face coverings and/or use appropriate bell covers while performing. Woodwinds and brass performers may remove their face coverings/masks when performing on their instrument and must replace their face covering/mask during non-performance time. Face coverings/masks with slits are recommended but not required.
- Universal masking with appropriate material – MERV13 or 3-layer medical face mask or similar material – is required in general music and elementary classrooms when singing is performed. Teachers should provide students with singers’ masks to replace their cloth masks in these settings. When not singing, students should wear cloth masks as required in other classrooms. 17
- Bell covers with appropriate material – MERV 13 or 3-layer medical face mask or similar material – are required for brass and woodwind instruments when indoors. Bell covers are recommended when playing outdoors but not required.
- Practice good hygiene collecting water condensation from brass instruments. Consider using “puppy pads” for students to empty spit valves rather than emptying directly on the floor.
- Ensure that all students have access to their chosen performing arts course. Space constraints should not limit access to these classes. Distancing should be at least 3 feet, if possible, and more if space permits. Distancing of at least 3 feet is also recommended outdoors.
- Reduce shared equipment to the degree possible. Have students use hand sanitizer before using shared equipment like music stands. If hand sanitizer is readily available and used often, shared equipment does not need to be sanitized between each group; regular daily cleaning is sufficient. For shared instruments, students should have their own mouthpieces. Allow the instrument to sit for 24 hours between uses.
- Maximize ventilation of the space as much as possible. If a space is smaller and/or not well-ventilated, use portable HEPA air cleaners to supplement. See also Ventilation above for best practices to allow appropriate time for air change.
Extra Curricular Activities (Clubs, Interest Groups, STEM Fairs, Field Trips, etc.)
Students, teachers, and support staff must follow all requirements within this document when participating in school-sponsored performances, activities, contests, shows, etc., even if not in a K-12 classroom setting.
- For performances, audience members should be seated in “family units” and those small groups should be spaced at least 3 feet apart. All audience members must wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.
- Universal masking is required during performances for participants, including appropriate face coverings and bell covers on woodwind and brass instruments. Travel for Performing Arts.
- Travel trips must follow CDC’s order for all riders and drivers to wear a mask on buses or other public transportation, regardless of vaccination status. Seat cohorts together on the bus and separate the cohorts by at least 3 feet to the degree possible. Increase ventilation by opening windows as weather permits.
Testing Requirements for Performing Arts & Extra Curricular Activities
- Any participant with a positive test must be excluded from the event and removed from the venue.
- Positive test results must be reported to the local health jurisdiction.
- Contact tracing should be performed per guidance in the What to Do if Someone is a Close Contact of Someone with COVID-19 section.
- The performing arts group should work with local public health to determine how to approach isolation, quarantine, and further testing.
Visitors on School Grounds
Northshore School District Buildings are open to staff, parents as well as essential volunteers & business partners.
- All persons in district buildings must be wearing appropriate masks upon entry and at all required times unless:
- Visitors must sign-in at the main office with phone number/email
- As mandated by Governor Jay Inslee, all K-12 and early learning educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers and others working in school facilities must be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021.