Lots of congratulations were followed by clarification of what the May 11th end of the public health emergency translation by DOH means for schools. To the dismay of many, no explanation was made on why the DOH communication was not given out with more notice.
Below is a quick breakdown of the updated DOH school & childcare guidance for the rest of this year and next year—no news yet on when the “official” document will be released.
- WA state was not able to extend liability coverage to non-medical tests, even with a CLIA waiver in place, after Federal Authorization on the pandemic came to a close. Therefore, only RNs or their legally authorized delegates can now perform on-campus COVID testing.
- Removed the mask order for health care settings, but employees around anyone with covid symptoms are to wear PPE as referenced in the L&I guidance for employees https://www.lni.wa.gov/agency/outreach/coronavirus/requirements-and-guidance-for-preventing-covid-19.
- Removed references for schools to monitor CDC COVID community levels as that website is no longer active.
- Removed reporting requirement for positive results of an at-home test to the LHJ. Only in-school testing results will need to be reported.
- No longer recommends exposure notifications of individual cases to students, staff, and families. Notification must be made only if there is an outbreak (5 of more people in a cluster) in the school or childcare.
- Expanding Flu, RSV, and other respiratory illness recommendations with a new paragraph for best practices and resources.
- Expired COVID tests can still be used (though many schools in the chat reported that expired test kits they are getting have a high fail rate). https://doh.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2023-01/421037-ExpiredCOVIDTestFAQ.pdf?uid=6466650003348