Test to Stay is a protocol in the Washington Department of Health guidance for K-12 schools. Test to Stay provides on-site rapid testing for unvaccinated students who are exposed to COVID-19 at school. As long as they continue to test negative for COVID-19, they can continue to attend class during their quarantine period. Families must give consent for their child to participate in COVID-19 testing at school.
Option 1: Participate in Test to Stay
Students and staff eligible for Test to Stay may attend school, school-related extracurricular activities and school-aged child care during their quarantine period if they participate in testing. Parents/guardians will be called and asked for permission prior to testing. Staff and students will be tested on days 3 and 5 during the school day.
Option 2: Do Not Participate in Test to Stay
Students and staff who choose not to participate in Test to Stay will quarantine for ten days. Quarantine is when someone is asked to stay home due to exposure to someone who is infected, because they could become contagious.
If symptoms appear during the quarantine period, the person should isolate and get tested. Isolation is when someone is asked to stay home because of illness or possible illness, and they are contagious.
Staff and students with COVID-19 can return to school when:
Five days have passed since symptom onset, OR since positive test specimen collection date if symptoms are present.
No symptoms are present, OR symptoms are resolving; AND no fever within the past 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.
Staff and students returning after five days should continue to monitor symptoms and must wear a well-fitting mask around others through day ten. The well-fitting mask should be worn both in and out of school. This includes during extra-curricular and sports activities.
An exposure or a close contact is someone who was within six feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 cumulative minutes over a 24-hour period during the period of time when the person with COVID-19 was infectious. In the classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were at least three feet away from an infected student when (a) both students were wearing face coverings/masks and (b) other preventative strategies were in place. A close contact will be quarantined, stays home and away from others for the recommended period of time. Further details may be found at the K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 School Year.
We are in constant communication with the Whatcom County Health Department. In our conversation with the health department Jan. 13, they shared schools are still one of the safest places to be. We have controlled environments with layers of mitigation that help keep us safe. Wearing masks, keeping distance and remaining home when you’re ill or experiencing symptoms all helps to keep our community healthier. Finally, we know our students are best served when they are in school.
All students who are at least five years old must wear a cloth face covering (or more protective face covering, such as an N95 mask), with limited exceptions for students with a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental or cognitive condition, or disability that prevents wearing a cloth face covering. In rare circumstances when those reasons prevent a student from wearing a cloth face covering, they may use a clear face covering or a face shield with a drape or wrap as an alternative to a cloth face covering. Please contact your school principal if you believe your student has a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental or cognitive condition, or disability that prevents them from wearing a cloth face covering.