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New DOH Guidance for COVID-19 Symptoms and Returning to School

As we continue to navigate full-time, in-person learning, we’ve greatly appreciated the partnership with our students, families, and staff. We know this is a particularly challenging school year. We need your continued help to make this a positive, healthy, and productive year for all students. This includes staying home when sick, continuing to follow the health and safety protocols that our local health officials require, and working together to do our best to keep our students, staff, and community safe.

Last Monday, October 4, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released updated COVID-19 requirements for K-12 schools, including “COVID-19 Symptom Decision Trees.” These documents provide guidance for families and school staff on what to do when a person is symptomatic at school and identify and care for close contacts at school.

The decision trees are similar to the return to school/workflow chart that our district used previously from public health. The most significant change is that instead of requiring people with any symptom to isolate, the decision trees now breaks down symptoms into two categories:

Category one: A student or staff member experiencing these symptoms should be isolated at home AND get tested for COVID-19. They can return to school after providing a negative COVID-19 test and if they’ve had no fever within the past 24 hours (without medication) AND symptoms have significantly improved (at this time we do not accept negative at-home COVID-19 tests):

  • Fever (>100.4°F) or chills
  • Cough (new, changed, or worsening
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell

Category two: A student or staff member experiencing these symptoms should be isolated at home; however, they can return to school without a COVID-19 test if they only had ONE symptom, the symptom resolved within 24 hours, AND they were not a known close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat

People with COVID symptoms and/or close contacts should stay home until they have the results of their testing. Learn more about when students and staff can return to school and our COVID Safety Protocols.

To see the COVID-19 Decision Trees, click here. (Please note: KSD does not currently have a “Test-to-Stay” protocol in place, but we are working to implement testing locations across the district to support students, families, and staff.)

We will continue to follow the guidance of our local health experts – as we have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thank you for all you do to keep your family and others safe and healthy.