Updated DOH Guidance Offers Shorter Quarantine Window

Updated DOH Guidance Offers Shorter Quarantine Window
Posted on 01/13/2022
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There is some positive news for school staff and students when it comes to COVID protocols. On January 7, 2022, the Washington Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced updates to the COVID Guidance for K-12 Schools. The most significant change is a reduced quarantine and isolation window to five (5) days under certain conditions. This update cuts the previous quarantine window in half from ten days down to five.

Thanks to Royal School District’s participation in the Test to Stay program, staff and students may continue attending class and participate in extracurricular activities in a modified quarantine status for five days under the Test to Stay protocols if they:

  1. Are tested at least twice during the 5 days of quarantine; AND
  2. Are not experiencing symptoms, or symptoms are resolving; AND
  3. Continue to wear a well-fitted mask

If not following the Test to Stay protocols, staff and students may return to school after 5 full days* if they:

  1. Are not experiencing symptoms, or symptoms are resolving; AND
  2. Are fever free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication; AND
  3. Receive a negative COVID-19 test result no sooner than day 5.

If not tested for COVID-19, staff and students may return to school 10 full days after symptoms started if they:

  1. Are not experiencing symptoms or symptoms are resolving; AND
  2. Are fever free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication.

Upon returning to school, ALL staff and students must continue monitoring for symptoms and wear a well-fitted mask around others. A mask must be worn during most extracurricular and sports activities for five days following a student’s return to school after exposure or illness.

Stay Home When Sick!

No matter what, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of staying home when sick -- for both students and staff. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please do not come to school. If an exposed person experiences any COVID-19 symptoms, they should isolate for 5 days from when symptoms started and be fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication).

Exceptions to Quarantine

No quarantine is needed if an individual is asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms) and:

  • Ages 18 and older: Up to date with vaccines (primary series and boosters); or
  • Ages 5–17: Completed primary series of vaccines; or
  • Had confirmed COVID-19 in the last 90 days and recovered.

A high-level summary of the January 7th updates from DOH and OSPI can be foundon the OSPI website HERE. Another great reference is our district’s Student Return to School Handout. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Health Services Coordinator, Janna Benzel, at 509-346-2226. Thank you for all your efforts to keep our schools healthy, safe, and open!

* Counting Quarantine Days: Day zero (0) is the last day of close contact. Quarantine can end after 5 full days beginning the day after the last close contact, as long as no symptoms have developed after receiving a negative test result from a test taken no sooner than day 5.