Updated Sept. 21, 2021

The COVID-19 dashboard will be updated regularly to reflect current cases impacting our schools and district. This is a public health communication tool for transparency with our community.

The dashboard reflects confirmed cases in our schools requiring contact tracing notification (per health department guidance).

Current Reported Cases Among Students/Staff

Dashboard shows current confirmed positive cases of Bellingham Public Schools students or staff engaged in learning or work at a district site. In order to keep the dashboard up-to-date and relevant, cases are archived at Past Cases Dashboard below. If a case is determined to have no contacts and quarantine is not required in a small learning community, it may not be possible to share data and also protect confidential health information. The Washington State Department of Health small numbers reporting guidelines provides more information about data reporting and protecting confidential health information.

Past Cases Dashboard

 


Notification Protocol

Here are the steps we follow for confirmed cases of COVID-19.

  1. We learn of confirmed case through parent/guardian reporting or notification from the health department.
  2. Our schools each have COVID site safety teams who help initiate contact tracing. If there are close contacts of a confirmed case, we notify them and their families.
  3. We work closely with the health department on our case response and in providing close contacts with public health information on what to do (e.g. quarantine, testing, date of return, etc.).
  4. We update the COVID-19 dashboard for transparency with our community.
Sample Notification Letter

Draft template for confirmed exposure email used for contact tracing.   

A Message from the Whatcom County Health Department    

Dear family,     

An individual at the school has tested positive for COVID-19. Your child has been identified as a close contact.     

We ask that you quarantine your child. In consultation with the Whatcom County Health Department, schools may use a 10-day quarantine option. Please have your child stay home, avoid going out, and stay away from other people for 10 days after the day of last exposure which was on ____.  

Your child’s siblings and other household members do not have to quarantine unless your child develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.  

If your child is fully vaccinated, they do not need to quarantine or get tested. If symptoms develop, they should follow quarantine guidance and get tested. Testing is recommended for both vaccinated and unvaccinated at 3-5 days after exposure. Please know that a negative test result does not release you early from quarantine. 

If your child had COVID in the last three months, they do not need to quarantine, but should watch for symptoms and get tested if symptoms develop. 

A person who tests positive with COVID-19 is considered contagious 2 days prior to symptom onset and for 10 days afterwards OR, if not having symptoms, 2 days prior to the positive test collection date and for 10 days afterwards.  A close contact means being within six feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period of time. Students masked at three feet in classroom are not considered close contacts per CDC and DOH.  

During quarantine stay home and watch for symptoms. COVID-19 illness can be mild to severe. Symptoms can appear anytime between 2 and 14 days after exposure. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, body aches, congestion, sore throat, diarrhea, and loss of smell or taste. If your child develops symptoms or if anyone in your household is experiencing symptoms, we advise them to get tested.     

To report symptoms and if questions about COVID-19 and quarantine, call the call the Whatcom County Health Department Nurse Line: 360-778-6128. We ask families to call their school if your child develops symptoms so we can adjust your return date. 

If your family needs support during quarantine, you can call your school or the district’s office of family engagement at 360-676-6470 ext. 2790. 

For testing: www.Testdirectly.comFor assistance making a testing appointment call: 360-778-6075.   

Please know that the school is working closely with the Whatcom County Health Department to ensure schools are following all the current best practices for preventing COVID-19. For more information:  

https://www.whatcomcounty.us/3329/Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19   

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html   

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVIDexposed.pdf     

Terminology
  • Exposure or contact is usually defined as being within six feet or more and spending 15 minutes or longer with someone who has tested positive for COVID.
  • Quarantine is when someone is asked to stay home due to ​exposure to someone who is infected, because they could become contagious.
  • ​Isolation is when some is asked to stay home because of illness or possible illness, ​and they are contagious.
  • One confirmed case is not an outbreak. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases with transmission occurring between them.
Why might we not report a confirmed case that doesn’t require contact tracing?

There is a legal requirement to keep protected health information confidential. If no contact tracing and no closures are required in a small in-person learning community it may not be possible to share data and also protect confidential health information. The Washington State Department of Health small numbers reporting guidelines provides more information about data reporting and protecting confidential health information.

We have two responsibilities to balance: a responsibility to share information with our community regarding public health and safety, and a responsibility to keep the personal health information of individuals confidential. We add a confirmed case of COVID to our dashboard if we identify and notify close contacts (see definition of close contacts.) We only report cases where there could be possible exposure at work or school, which we believe is most relevant for our community to know. If there are no close contacts or exposure at school, we prioritize the privacy of individuals’ health information.