DOH Guidance for Schools & Childcare

COVID-19 is now lumped in with other respiratory illnesses by the CDC and DOH. The new guidance recommends that people who have COVID-19 or another respiratory virus may return to normal activities when both of the following have been true for at least 24 hours:

  1. their symptoms are getting better overall, and
  2. they have not had a fever (without having to use fever-reducing medication).

DOH has produced a School Talking Points document with additional info.

Because people can remain contagious even after they feel better, DOH recommends taking extra precautions during the first 5 days of returning to normal activities after COVID-19, flu, RSV, or other respiratory viruses. This includes wearing a mask, taking steps to improve airflow and filtration, practicing good hand hygiene, cleaning regularly, physical distancing, and testing when you will be around other people indoors.

  • People with COVID-19 are often contagious for 5-10 days after illness begins.
  • People with flu may be contagious for up to 5-7 days after illness begins.
  • People with RSV are usually contagious for 3-8 days after illness begins.

Some people, such as those with a weakened immune system, can be contagious with a respiratory virus for longer periods of time.

L&I requirements for employee protection have yet to shift:, but notice on the website indicates it is under consideration.


Measles on the rise

As of March, fifty-eight measles cases have been reported to the CDC this academic year. There have been 11 confirmed cases in WA since Dec 2023, the most recent being in Spokane in February. The cases reported in 15 states are among those unvaccinated or partially vaccinated against measles, though the vaccinated are still at risk.

The earliest symptoms of measles are:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Pink eye/conjunctivitis
  • Fever
  • Measles Rash (3-5 days after symptoms begin)

The DOH Measles Assessment Checklist provides steps on determination and notification around measles.


Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

WCAAP is looking to hear from schools about their challenges with state vaccine requirements and how to leverage resources in their area.

Collaboration between county health officials, school leaders, school nurses, and pediatricians on a regional level has helped improve support for students and schools. The focus began with ten rural counties with low vaccination rates and outreach to school nurses to form a partnership. After listening to local community challenges, they quickly added opioid overdose, mental health, and firearm misuse as areas of concern needing focus.

Listen for opportunities to participate in upcoming events in your county.