Safety Measures- Vaccines, Exposure, & Quarantine

The Washington Department of Health has made changes to the definition of a close contact for K-12 education. Students may not be considered a close contact if they are wearing their masks and maintaining the new physical distancing guideline of three feet from one another to the degree possible.

We will, of course, continue to consult with public health officials as needed, but this means we will likely have fewer students required to quarantine because they are determined to be close contacts in our schools.

Per the Department of Health COVID-19 Return to Work/School Flow Chart

“Close Contact” includes anyone in one or more of the following categories:

  1. Been within six (6) feet of a person with COVID-19 for a combined total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period
  2. Live in the same household as a person with COVID-19
  3. Cared for a person with COVID-19
  4. Been in direct contact with saliva or other body secretions from a person with COVID-19 (for example: been coughed on, kissed, shared utensils, etc.)

In a K-12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were at least 3 feet away from an infected student when:

  • Both students were wearing face coverings/masks  AND
  • Other prevention strategies were in place

This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

Public Health will help the ISD identify close contacts in the event of a positive case.

There are several scenarios based on specific details at the time of exposure that determine the course of action. The district will be following the Department of Health COVID-19 Return to Work/School Flow Chart. As each case is unique the district will act off direct guidance provided by Seattle-King County Public Health and the Department of Health.

People who were in close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 may need quarantine. They should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days starting from the last day they had contact with the infected person. If they have no symptoms, they should follow these guidelines:

Close contacts with no symptoms who ARE NOT fully vaccinated can opt to take part in the Test to Stay program and with a negative test, can stay at school. Students should:

  1. Get tested upon being determined a close contact.
  2. Get tested again, 3-5 days after known exposure.
  3. Continue wearing a mask in all public indoor settings.  
  4. Watch for symptoms for 14 days after close contact. 

Close contacts with no symptoms who ARE fully vaccinated:

  1. You do not need to quarantine after an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, but you should watch for symptoms for 14 days after your last close contact.
  2. If you develop symptoms within 14 days after an exposure, isolate yourself from others. Contact your healthcare provider and let them know you have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

If symptoms develop, it is recommended to seek out testing and inform your student’s school immediately if the test is positive for COVID-19. As of August 2021 testing is available at Bellevue CollegeUW Medicine testing sites, and various other locations across King County.

This is dependent on the specific scenario and direction from the Department of Health. Please see the Department of Health COVID-19 Return to Work/School Flow Chart for information on specific scenarios. 

The Washington Department of Health’s Test to Stay Program (page 14) provides students who are unvaccinated, asymptomatic, and become a close contact while attending school or a school sponsored activity the option to stay in school instead of quarantining by taking a COVID-19 test. The test result needs to be negative. 

This program is designed to help reduce exclusion from in-person instruction if all required mitigation measures have been followed and testing is used as a method of screening. We have elected to participate in this as a District, families have the option to opt in or out of the program.

The Test to Stay protocol (page 14) allows a student, who tests negative for COVID-19, to continue to attend class in a modified quarantine. A modified quarantine is where the student must quarantine at home except for attending school classes. Students must continue this for 7 days after exposure, if they:

  • Are tested at least twice during the 7 days of quarantine; AND
  • Are asymptomatic; AND
  • Continue to wear a mask; AND
  • Continue to quarantine from (i.e., not participate in) all extracurricular activities at school, including sports, and other activities outside their home (e.g. scouts, music lessons, etc.) for the entirety of their modified quarantine period. This includes group childcare or youth development programs provided before and after school, which should not be attended during modified quarantine. 

It depends on what the symptoms are, how long the student has the symptoms and if they were a close contact to someone who tested positive. Please refer to the Department of Health COVID-19 Return to Work/School Flow Chart or contact your school nurse if you have further questions.

Based on guidance from Learn to Return and the Department of Health (DOH) the Issaquah School District is currently not doing asymptomatic pooled testing. Please know that we are in contact with Learn to Return on a regular basis and may adjust our practice in the future. 

Currently the District will be using PCR tests for our vaccine exempt employees, rapid tests will be available at all sites, and athletic testing is occurring in certain sports that are deemed high risk. 

Whenever a positive case of COVID-19 is reported within any of our facilities the district will follow guidance provided by Seattle and King County Public Health. All cases will be reported on our COVID-19 dashboard webpage, which is updated once a week on Monday afternoon.

Please note that data on the dashboard will refresh as of the first day of school on August 31. An archive page will be available and linked on the page to show cases recorded prior to August 31, 2021. 

Students that are sick should stay home.

In alignment with Governor Inslee's mandate on August 18, we are actively working to verify the vaccination status of 3000+ employees. We have until October 18,2021 to verify the vaccination status of our employees. Additionally, our employees have the right to request a religious or medical exemption from this mandate. We in Human Resources are following legal and OSPI guidance as we process those individual requests, one at a time. Of course, as you would expect, our employees’ vaccination status (or their exemption status) is confidential health information that the district is not at liberty to share with members of the public; thank you for your understanding in this matter. Approximately 940 staff took advantage of the free clinic the ISD hosted last year and we are confident that, like the rest of King County, our staff vaccination rates will be quite high

Currently the COVID-19 vaccine is not required for students ages 12 and over to attend school in Washington State. If the status of vaccine requirement changes it will be directed by the Washington State Department of Health or the Federal Government.

In the event of a COVID positive case or cases, we contact all close contacts. When we contact you, we will request proof of your student’s vaccination (i.e. a copy of their card) or request your permission to look your student up in the state database. For staff, we will look this up in our confidential Human Resources record that you provided. Regardless of vaccination status, we will reach out to all close contacts. Fully vaccinated students and staff get to keep coming to school as long as they remain asymptomatic.

You will be contacted directly by your school’s COVID Supervisor with pertinent information. Please make sure your contact information is up to date in Family Access. 

If you suspect your student has been exposed to COVID-19 or symptoms develop, it is recommended to seek out testing and inform your student’s school immediately if the test is positive. As of August 2021 testing is available at Bellevue CollegeUW Medicine testing sites, and various other locations across King County.

Testing site information is also available on our Immunizations and Testing webpage.

  • Any student with a positive COVID test will be required to quarantine 
  • Any student who is NOT fully vaccinated but is identified as a close contact of someone who tests positive will be required to quarantine 
  • Scenario 1: Ashika's younger brother tested positive for COVID. Ashika is fully vaccinated. Ashika does not need to quarantine as long as she is symptom free. She is encouraged to get a COVID test 3-5 days after her brother tested positive and monitor herself for symptoms. She is also required to wear a mask at all times (even outdoors and during athletics) until she tests negative. Only if she has any symptoms or tests positive would Ashika need to quarantine. 
  • Scenario 2: Sarah's mom was identified as a close contact of someone at work who tested positive. Sarah's and her mom are not vaccinated. Sarah's mom must quarantine. Sarah is not required to quarantine because she is an exposure to an exposure - she herself was not exposed. If Sarah develops symptoms or her mom ends up testing positive, she would then need to quarantine.
  • Scenario 3: Someone on the Robotics team has tested positive for Covid. Malachi is a student on the Robotics team. Malachi was not within 6' of the student who tested positive but was with them for a one hour Robotics meeting. Malachi is not considered a close contact because he was socially distanced from the positive student and therefor does not need to quarantine regardless of vaccination status unless he develops symptoms or tests positive. 
  • Scenario 4: Henry's 3rd grade sister tested positive for Covid. Henry is not fully vaccinated. Henry needs to quarantine. 
  • Scenario 5: Rosie is fully vaccinated but has a headache and a sniffle. Rosie recognizes these as symptoms and knows she's supposed to stay home if she has symptoms. Rosie gets tested for Covid and gets a negative test but she still has symptoms. Rosie must stay home until her symptoms have improved, but does not need to follow the 10-day quarantine guidelines. 
  • Scenario 6: Edgar has allergies. Edgar is fully vaccinated. Edgar's allergies result in a dry cough and runny nose. Out of an abundance of caution, Edgar stays home and gets a Covid test to make sure his symptoms are a result of his allergies. Edgar's test is negative. Edgar speaks with his Dr. and gets a medical note that allows him to return to school as long as his symptoms remain typical for his allergies. Only if Edgard develops a secondary symptom that is atypical of his normal allergies would he need to quarantine and retest. 

You, as a parent, can excuse the absence like you would for any illness through all your school’s available channels.

At the elementary level, your student’s teacher will treat that absence like any other illness.

  • K-5 teachers will gather and collect classroom materials that a student may need to complete missing work. This could include the use of digital media platforms like Seesaw, Clever, iReady or Zearn.
  • The teacher will work closely with each student upon return to the classroom to ensure they are caught up.
  • In the event of a whole classroom closure, our K-5 teachers will provide remote instruction to the class while students are at home. Teachers will instruct from their classrooms.

We look forward to serving your students and have created backup and contingency plans for the event that absences resulting from COVID increase beyond levels we see for other illnesses. Both district office staff and our partners in the Issaquah Education Association stand ready to respond and make adjustments to serve our students well.

You, as a parent, can excuse the absence like you would for any illness through all your school’s available channels.

Our middle and high school students who are fully vaccinated and remain asymptomatic will not need to quarantine.

In middle school and high school, if a situation arises in which a student is unvaccinated and/or develops symptoms, teachers will use their typical communication channels for any excused absence.

  • They will continue using Canvas as their learning management system so class materials will be there.
  • They will communicate with students via Canvas and email.
  • They may also communicate with families via email as needed.
  • They can arrange to have hard copy materials picked up in the main office as needed.

We look forward to serving your students and have created backup and contingency plans for the event that absences resulting from COVID increase beyond levels we see for other illnesses. Both district office staff and our partners in the Issaquah Education Association stand ready to respond and make adjustments to serve our students well.

You will be contacted directly by your school’s COVID Supervisor if your student is found to be a close contact with pertinent information. Please make sure your contact information is up to date in Family Access. 

BASC students will be notified if they are determined to be a close contact. Families will be contacted directly by the BASC program with pertinent information. Please make sure your contact information is up to date in Family Access.