Notifying Groups or Individuals of Potential Exposure
Staff are required to be notified of exposure following the requirements WAC 296-62-600. See the L&I guidance document Questions and Answers: Reporting and Notification Requirements of HELSA and PPE Usage.
In addition, schools and providers are required to directly notify any student who has been identified as immunocompromised, medically fragile, or otherwise at high risk for severe COVID-19 of potential exposure. Notification should be provided to all employees and high-risk individuals, irrespective of their vaccination status or recent infection within the past 90 days.
For the rest of the general school and youth-serving population, schools and providers are required to have a process in place to inform students, children, families, and staff when there are cases or outbreaks in the school. Use communications in the language that families can understand. Always and when resources are limited, concentrate notification efforts to inform medically fragile students, children, families, and staff, including any others at high risk.
Below are options for keeping families informed of cases and outbreaks:
- Weekly newsletters or online dashboards of cases or outbreaks.
- Notification (e.g., by email or messaging system) of “groups” rather than individual “close contacts.” These groups could include classmates, teammates, grade levels, cohorts, bus riders, or others.
- Group notifications may also be appropriate in times of a cluster or outbreak.
- There may be instances where individual contact tracing may be required (e.g., during an outbreak). Consult with your LHJ.
Regardless of vaccination status, students, children, and staff who were potentially exposed to COVID-19 should be encouraged to:
- Monitor for symptoms, AND
- Consider wearing a well-fitted mask (if age appropriate) for 10 days after the last date of exposure, especially during activities like high-risk indoor sports, performing arts, etc., AND
- Get tested 3-5 days after their last exposure. Molecular (PCR/NAAT), antigen, and at-home tests are acceptable. If they test positive, they must isolate.
- For individuals who have been recently infected (within the past 90 days), antigen testing should be performed as PCR results may remain persistently positive and not be indicative of a new, active infection.
See also the What to do if You Receive an Exposure Notification flowchart as a reference.
Exposed students, children, and staff may continue to take part in all in-person instruction and care, including sports, performing arts, and other extracurricular activities, as long as they are not symptomatic. If an exposed student, child, or staff develops symptoms, they are required to immediately isolate at home follow the protocols outlined in the Exclusion of People with Symptoms of COVID-19 section.