COVID-19 Guidelines and Protocols

Lea Hysom, School Nurse

As a community, we have a shared responsibility toward one another. Please review these protocols and refer to our detailed Decision Tree if you are unsure whether you or your child may come to school. The following protocols are in effect for the 2021 – 2022 school year. Also see the Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Protocols.

Signs and Symptoms

SARS-CoV-2 infection usually causes some or all these symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.

  • Fever > 100° F or a sense of having a fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chills 
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Positive Case Protocols

Isolation

Isolation is for people who have a positive case of COVID-19. If a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, please take the following actions:

  • Complete the online COVID-19 Positive Case form.
  • Parents should notify the Attendance Office (attendance@tbcs.org) that your child(ren) will be absent. Employees should notify their supervisor.
  • Vaccination status is irrelevant. Anyone with a positive COVID-19 case must isolate.
  • Students in isolation/quarantine are eligible for remote learning.
  • Remain home, and if necessary, seek medical advice from your health care provider.

The health team will contact you with more information and guidance about how long your child must isolate.

Returning to School After Isolation

  • Clearance from the school health team is required before returning to campus.
  • If symptom-free for 24 hours, individuals may return to school on day 6.
    • 5 days from the day after the onset of symptoms (day 0 is the first day of symptoms) or
    • 5 days from the day a test is taken if individual has had no symptoms (day 0 is the day the individual tested positive)
  • On days 6 – 10, individuals must continue to wear a mask at school or can test negative with an antigen test to return to school without a mask. 
  • Students who choose to neither test nor wear a mask must remain at home until 10 days have passed since the initial diagnosis or symptom onset. They will be eligible for remote learning during that time.

Please refer to the DOH decision tree (page1) for more information.

Quarantine

Quarantine is for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms of illness. The purpose of quarantine is to wait and see if a person who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 will get infected while minimizing the spread of the virus to others. Regardless of vaccination status, students, children, and staff who were potentially exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to: 

  • Monitor for symptoms, and 
  • Consider wearing a well-fitted mask (if age appropriate) for 10 days after the last date of exposure, 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.

Please refer to the DOH decision tree (page 2) for more information.

Students or employees who are exposed to COVID-19 in their household may continue to attend school, provided that: 

  • They do not develop any symptoms of COVID-19, and
  • They receive a negative antigen test result for 5 consecutive school days
  • If they test positive or develop symptoms, they must begin isolation immediately (see guidelines above)
  • If they choose not to test, they must quarantine at home for 5 school days

The Bear Creek School follows the guidance from the Washington State Department of Health and may implement additional preventative strategies, including quarantine or modified quarantine, if there is an outbreak of cases that can be epidemiologically linked through school contact.

Testing

Symptomatic Testing

Students who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 at school may be provided a self-administered rapid antigen test in the Health Room with prior parental consent. Parents will be notified of all results. This testing option is offered as a convenience for parents and as a means of early detection of COVID-19 infections. Symptomatic students will be isolated in a designated isolation space in the Health Room and are required to wear a mask while waiting to leave the school.

Testing Process and Consent

All testing conducted at The Bear Creek School will be a self-administered low nasal swab under the supervision of Bear Creek employees. COVID-19 testing is available free for students in grades K – 12.

Testing at school is optional, and parents may allow their child to participate in school-based testing by completing the COVID-19 testing consent items in the health portal.

  • COVID-19 Student (or Employee) Testing Program Consent (sign electronically)
  • Atlas Genomics Student (or Adult) Consent Form (print, sign, upload two pages)

Notification

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a student, faculty, or staff member that poses an exposure risk to our immediate school community, the school will follow this notification protocol: 

Health Alerts

As with all cases of communicable diseases, Health Alerts regarding COVID-19 exposure will be sent as cases arise identifying the affected division(s) and potential exposure dates to those who subscribe to the Health Alert notifications. This procedure follows our standard protocol for notification about communicable diseases in the school community. If you wish to receive Health Alerts via email or text message, please subscribe to Health Alerts (requires login) by following the how-to instructions.

High Risk Students

In addition, schools 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. So that we can be sure to include parents of high-risk students in our COVID-19 Health Alerts, please log in and complete this form.

In keeping with our privacy policies, we will not release detailed information about positive cases. We ask your cooperation in only contacting the health team if you have questions about symptoms you or your child are experiencing, or if you have received a notification email or text about a risk of exposure for your family. This will allow our nurses to focus on caring for our students and families with immediate health needs.

Safety and Mitigation Measures

Health Screening

Students, faculty, and staff may not come to school if they

  • have had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours (see above),
  • are awaiting COVID-19 test results, or
  • have tested positive for COVID-19

Please refer to the Decision Tree to determine if your child may attend school. Please complete the COVID-19 Positive Case form if your child tests positive for COVID-19. Student absences should also be reported to attendance@tbcs.org in the morning.

Visitor Screening

All visitors must complete a health screening questionnaire and have their temperature taken prior to entering any school building.

Visitors may not enter the building if the answer to any of these questions is yes.

  1. Have you had any of the COVID-like symptoms enumerated above in the last 24 hours?
  2. Have you had a positive COVID-19 test for active virus in the past 5 days, or are you awaiting results of a COVID-19 test?
  3. Within the past 5 days, has a public health or medical professional told you to self-monitor, self-isolate, or self-quarantine because of concerns about COVID-19 infection?

Face Coverings

Beginning March 12, face coverings are optional inside school buildings. Masks are not required outdoors. See these resources provided by our counselors which may be helpful to your family as you navigate the changing COVID-19 school regulations.

Distancing

Students will be seated at least three feet apart in classrooms and will be distanced at least six feet apart when in shared spaces such as the gym, Main Commons, or Nagel Commons.

Hand Hygiene

Students will be required to sanitize their hands when they enter the building in the morning and after recess. Preschool and Lower School teachers will also set aside times throughout the day for handwashing in classrooms, and we will continue to encourage healthy hygiene behaviors like proper respiratory etiquette and frequent handwashing across all divisions.

Vaccine

The Bear Creek School recognizes individual families will make decisions about vaccination in consultation with their health care providers and guidance of public health officials. You can find more information about the vaccine eligibility and locations in Washington.

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for more details.

Prevention

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health Seattle King County have published information about COVID-19 prevention.

  • Monitor your health and be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop and seek medical care right away.

If you have any questions, please email covid@tbcs.org.