WFIS has continued to attend meetings with LHJs & ESDs to listen to school concerns and get input from health officers. We hear about many RSV cases and viruses. Some regions of the state are experiencing flu. In the coming weeks, the flu is expected to increase significantly based on what the East Coast is experiencing.
Things will likely shift over the coming months. Cleaning and hand washing are beneficial, but staying home when sick is the only way not to spread illnesses. The flu vaccine for this year is proving 50% efficacy in the Southern Hemisphere (study in Chili) which is a substantial success compared to the past.
As a reminder, K12 schools and Early Learning Programs must:
- Inform staff potentially exposed to COVID-19 while maintaining the confidentiality of the person who tested positive.
- Isolate COVID-19-positive staff according to the L&I Requirementsand Guidance for Preventing COVID-19.
- Employees must still quarantine for five days if testing positive for COVID due to L&I requirements.
- Wear masks in healthcare settings, including the isolation and health room at a school, per Washington State’s face covering order.
- Early Learning must report every COVID case to the LHJ. You can use the DOH portal or report directly to your LHJ.
- All schools must report 10% or more absenteeism to LHJ even if you do not know why.
Some schools are struggling with push-back from families who say their child tested and its not COVID, but they are still sending them sick to school. Consider if your absentee policy or student workload may need revamping. For example, as families cannot get doctor appointments and urgent care clinics are filled by 11 am, a policy requiring a doctor’s note for absences could be temporarily suspended.
Conversely, many parents are back to work in a job and market that is not supportive of taking time off with sick children. Hearing from the local health officer that kids must stay home when sick because the health system is overloaded again is more powerful than just a message from your school. This Snohomish Health District message covers a lot of ground.