The following is a copy of an email sent to all OSD employees on January 27, 2022
Hello Olympia School District employees,
With the increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, we want to provide some reminders about the protocols to address and report positive cases, share information from the health services team, and answer some frequently asked questions.
1. Executive Director of Student Support Ken Turcotte has redistributed some job responsibilities and supervision among his health services team so they can respond in the most efficient manner to the increased number of positive COVID-19 cases. Additionally, contracted staff will be assisting with calling identified close contacts.
2. Importantly, we presume that classroom teachers and all staff are following mitigation measures such as proper physical distancing for adults and students, and face-covering requirements.
- When a principal notifies a teacher, or a teacher notifies a principal of a positive COVID-19 case, the teacher should communicate to the principal if there has been any deviation from classroom COVID-19 mitigation measures in the past two days that could result in a student or staff member being identified as a close contact. The teacher should provide the names of those students/staff members to the principal.
- If there has been a deviation from mitigation measures, the teacher should also tell the principal if there were any changes to the classroom seating chart. It is important that our contract tracers know where students sat or were grouped when they were potentially exposed.
- The principal emails the names of the potential close contacts and any changes to the seating chart to the school nurse.
- Employees who work in support roles outside of the classroom/school should communicate confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 with their supervisor, who will communicate directly with the school district’s health services team.
3. What is the difference between the COVID-19 positive cases reported daily to all employees and the OSD COVID-19 Data Dashboard?
- The COVID 19 daily employee notification email is a list of positive cases, including both staff and students, who were confirmed as positive for COVID-19 AND were on-site during their infectious period. The daily email does not represent positive cases where the individual(s) were not on-site during their infectious period.
- The OSD COVID-19 Data Dashboard, which is updated every Friday, is a cumulative account of all confirmed positive cases in our system.
4. What is the threshold for a classroom to shift from in-person to remote learning?
- This decision is made on a case-by-case basis and depends on a multitude of factors, including the number of positive cases reported, whether the positive cases are epidemiologically linked, whether the individuals shared a household, and whether the individuals had significant contact outside of school. We consult and carefully review data with county health officials, who will ultimately determine whether a classroom should shift to remote learning.
Finally, as was shared in a recent communication to staff and families, the district is aligning its contact tracing with the most recent DOH guidance. That guidance prioritizes contact tracing for indoor spaces where masking is limited or not consistent, for transportation services, and for high-risk extracurricular activities. This new guidance reflects that classrooms that follow mitigation protocols are not where health officials are seeing the spread of COVID-19.