March 14, 2022
Dear NHS Friends and Families,
Updated Washington State DOH Requirements: Last Monday, the Washington State Department of Health updated its requirements for K-12 schools with regard to COVID-19.
- Masks are no longer required in most indoor settings, including schools. Some students and staff will choose to continue masking. If your student chooses not to wear a mask, please instruct him or her to be respectful of all people’s choice. If your student becomes ill at school, he/she will be isolated and provided with a mask to wear. We will contact you to pick your student up.
- Isolation & Returning to School: Any staff member or student who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to isolate at home, regardless of vaccination status. An individual testing positive may return to school after 5 full days of isolation if their symptoms have improved or they are asymptomatic and they are without a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. If returning to school after a 5 day isolation period, the individual is required to wear a well-fitting mask during days 6-10 of their isolation period or test negative with an antigen or at-home test any day after day 5. Testing beyond day 10 is not necessary.
- Staying Home When Ill: If your student becomes ill at home, please do not send him/her to school. Call or email us in the office at NHS to notify us that your student will not be at school.
- Reporting Positive Cases to NHS: Staff or students who test positive for COVID-19 must report their active case to the office at NHS. We will continue to send isolation instructions and recommended next steps to those who test positive.
- Physical Distancing: There are no longer any physical distancing requirements set for schools by the DOH. NHS will continue to promote physical distancing.
- Routine Contact Tracing/Close Contacts/Quarantine: There are no longer any routine contact tracing requirements set for schools by the DOH, unless required in a specific instance by DOH or Seattle King County Public Health (SKCPH). Most likely, this would only be required during an outbreak at NHS. Individuals identified as close contacts are no longer required to quarantine if asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status, unless otherwise required by SKCPH. NHS will continue to notify all individuals identified as close contacts. DOH recommends that individuals identified as close contacts wear masks for 10 days following last known exposure and get tested 3-5 days after last known exposure.
- Vaccination Requirements: There have been no changes to vaccination requirements for any groups. All staff are still required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption. There have been no changes made to include students in the vaccination requirement for the current 2021-2022 school year. Please do let us know in the office at NHS if there are changes or updates to your child’s vaccination status (e.g. now fully vaccinated, now boosted).
- COVID-19 Testing:
- Every household in the US is eligible to order 2 sets of 4 free at-home tests shipped by the federal government through the United States Postal Service, click here.
- Each household may place two orders of free at-home tests shipped by the Washington State Department of Health. To order free at-home tests from the Washington State Department of Health, click here.
In addition to following the above listed requirements, NHS will continue to promote vaccination, practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, clean and disinfect classrooms and high-touch surfaces, and maximize outdoor activities.
We anticipate that some students will feel anxious about changes in school requirements and routines, such as the discontinuation of masking. It will take time to adjust, and we will provide support and guidance for students.
High aerolsol-producing performers (e.g. signers, woodwinds, brass, dance, and drama) may be asked by their teachers to wear masks, use bell covers while practicing/performing, and/or maintain additional physical distance when indoors. Athletes or club participants may also be asked by their teachers or coaches to wear masks, and/or maintain additional physical distance when indoors.
Please contact us in the office at NHS if you have any questions.
Marla L. Veliz