Back to School COVID-19 Safety Updates

Back to School COVID-19 Safety Updates

With the start of the 2021-22 school year right around the corner, we wanted to provide you with some updates on the safety protocols we will have in place in our schools and on our buses. As you will notice, some of the procedures will be the same as last year, while some have been adjusted to align with changes in requirements from the Washington State Department of Health, which is the guiding document upon which all of our safety plans are built.

Symptom Screening
Students and/or their guardians are required to screen for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to arrival at school or boarding a school bus. At this time, we will not be requiring daily online or paper attestation forms for students.

Screening for symptoms should include:

  • Fever (100.4°F or higher)
  • Cough (for individuals with chronic cough due to allergies or asthma, a change in their cough from baseline)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Students or staff who are displaying any of the above COVID-19 symptoms should not come to school and should be tested for COVID-19. Parents should contact the school to report that their child is sick, and the school will determine when it is safe for the student to return to school.

Additionally, staff and students should not come to school if they have been directed to quarantine from a health authority, are awaiting the results of a diagnostic COVID-19 test, or are not fully vaccinated and have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days.

Sick Students
Students displaying signs of illness will be sent home with a guardian as soon as possible.

  • Children displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be quarantined in an appropriate, predetermined room until guardians can arrive for pickup.
  • Schools will notify the district and follow the DOH flowchart for next steps in all cases of symptomatic persons, close-contact and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

If staff or students appear to be sick, but do NOT have any of the symptoms above, they should consider seeing a healthcare provider and being tested for COVID-19 if they:

Masks are required for all school staff, students and visitors while indoors and on district transportation, regardless of vaccination status, when students are present. Students with a documented medical condition, mental health condition, developmental or cognitive condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering may receive an exemption, but will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

  • Masks are not required outdoors, unless noted otherwise.
  • Masks may be removed when drinking and eating.
  • Staff interacting with students must wear a disposable mask (NOT a cloth face covering), respirator or other medium-risk facial covering standard (as defined by L&I).
  • Staff who are verified to be fully vaccinated may be indoors without masks when students are not present or expected to be present and the building is not open to the public.

Physical Distancing
Physical distancing requirements should not prevent a school from offering full-time, in-person learning to all students/families in the fall. Classrooms will maintain a 3' distance as much as reasonably possible. Most of the classrooms in the district are large enough to fit the typical number of students while maintaining 3' distancing. All efforts will be made to keep distancing at a maximum.

All staff must maintain six feet of distance from students when possible.

Safety Plans
Schools will develop their own school-specific safety plans that include procedures for drop-off, pick-up, learning, lunch, passing and recess times.

Safety plans for high-risk activities, assemblies, school-wide parent meetings, and other similar large gatherings must be submitted and approved by our Risk and Safety Director. Additionally, safety plans for off-site and after hours student activities/field trips must also be submitted and approved by our Risk and Safety Director. These events or activities will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

We will be following all the CDC, WA State and Monroe School District COVID safety protocols on our buses, which includes the wearing of masks at all times. Social distancing will be observed whenever practical. Seating charts will be on file at the transportation office. Student's seat location will be consistent anytime the student is on the bus. Seat sharing will be by siblings whenever possible.

As a reminder, families must OPT-IN for transportation to be assigned a bus stop for the 2021-22 school year. If your child will be riding the bus, please submit your opt-in request as soon as possible.

Breakfast & Lunch
Each of our schools will develop their own plans for student meal consumption based on their building's capacity and floor plans. Distancing will be maximized to the extent possible.

Breakfast and lunch will continue to be free for all students through the 2021-22 school year. All families, however, are encouraged to fill out the annual Free and Reduced Price Meal Application as eligibility provides many other benefits, including Pandemic EBT benefits for your family, no student fees for high school programs, free student entrance to all ASB extracurricular events (dances, athletics, etc) and reduced fees for family members to attend extracurricular events (athletics, plays, etc). Filling out this application also provides critical funding for our schools.

Quarantine and Isolation
As required by the health district, when a student or staff member receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, a close contact investigation will be initiated. Staff and families of students determined to be in close contact will be notified by phone and in writing with instruction for next steps, which may include quarantining.

  • Close contacts are determined as defined by the Snohomish Health District. See the flowchart here.
  • Quarantine may occur when you have been in close contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case.
  • The Department of Health (DOH) continues to recommend a 14 day quarantine after the last close contact with the COVID-19 positive person.
  • Isolation may occur if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The DOH recommends ending isolation when it's been at least 24 hours with no fever (without medication) and your symptoms have improved, and it has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
  • We will follow the DOH flowchart for next steps in all cases of symptomatic persons, close-contact and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Close contacts who are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms do not need to quarantine, but should be tested 3-5 days following a known exposure.

Communication about Positive Cases
It is our goal to keep staff and families informed of COVID-19 positive cases impacting school and district facilities while respecting the privacy of individuals. Due to strict HIPPA and FERPA laws we cannot release any name or identifiable information about the infected person or possible contacts.

  • For each reported positive COVID case, those identified as close contacts will be notified by phone call and sent an email with instructions on next steps.
  • At the end of the school day, and after all close contacts have been notified, other staff and families of students who were attending in-person at that time will also receive notification via email that there has been a positive COVID-19 case on campus, but they have not been identified as close contacts.
  • In addition, positive cases of COVID-19 in our schools will be recorded on our COVID-19 Activity Tracker, which is posted on our website. This document will be updated once daily.

All staff are required to be fully vaccinated by October 18th, per State Proclamation, unless they have an approved religious or medical exemption on file with Monroe School District Human Resources Department.

Students are not required to be vaccinated at this time to attend school. However, if an unvaccinated student is determined to be a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual, the student will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure. Close contacts who are not showing symptoms and have been verified as fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine.

Distance Learning Option
If families are uncomfortable sending their student(s) to school in-person for any reason, they may enroll their student(s) in a distance learning program through Sky Valley Education Center. Staff at Sky Valley Education Center work with each family to establish learning plans that will best meet the needs of each individual student. To learn more about the program offerings at SVEC, you are invited to visit the SVEC website or to call their office at (360) 804-2700.

While short-term visitors (and SVEC parents participating in our parent-partnership program) will be permitted in our schools, we will not be accepting volunteers in any of our facilities through the months of September and October. We will reevaluate this decision at the end of October 2021.

If you have any questions about school-specific safety plan and procedures, please reach out to the school principal or office staff.