A graphic that says, masks are required, get vaccinated, stay home if sick and wash your hands

 

Information for Families

Taking care of yourself and your family is taking care of your community.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and can come to school:

  1. Wear your mask. We will provide masks for those who need them.
  2. Keep distanced when able.
  3. Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water.

Our teachers and staff will be reinforcing these routines and practices.

 

School Day Information

Vaccine Information for Students

Information for students:

Students 5 years and older are now able to get vaccinated. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is FDA approved (for 16 and older) and is the only vaccine available to children 5 years and older. Parental consent is required.

We encourage all families to consider immunizing their student against COVID-19 to protect their child’s and family’s health and also the health of our schools and community. View the Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine informational flyer "What Parents of Minors Should Know."

Getting fully vaccinated will allow your student to do some things they couldn’t before. For example, if your student is fully vaccinated and has been around someone who has COVID-19, they do not need to quarantine.

Vaccine opportunities:

  • Parents/guardians can look for eligible vaccine appointments for their children by going on https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/ and searching for vaccine locations in their area.
  • Call Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357) for assistance. They can tell you which locations near you offer the COVID-19 vaccine, and help you schedule an appointment if needed. This line also has Spanish, Russian, Punjabi and other language options.

Vaccine facts from the CDC:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and help protect you from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19.
  • You may have side effects after vaccination, but these are normal.
  • Vaccines are available at no cost to you and health insurance is not required. The vaccine will be provided at no cost. It will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance. The cost of the vaccine will be covered for people who are uninsured.
  • It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. You are fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a one-dose vaccine.
  • If you have already had COVID-19, the CDC recommends that you still get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Learn more facts about COVID-19 vaccines at the CDC website.

Masks

Masks are requiredUpdate: Aug. 2, 2021

We follow Washington DOH, OSPI and L&I guidance for masks. All students and staff are required to wear masks in school. Some students may be unable to wear a mask due to medical or other conditions. Our behavior and health teams work with these students, families, and classrooms on an individual basis to support them in safely accessing their education.

Students will be provided masks to wear at school, and are also allowed to wear their own as long as it fits our requirements. Students will need to launder their masks at home. We will also have disposable and reusable masks available in case of forgotten, lost, or soiled masks that need to be changed.

According to Department of Health K12 COVID requirements, a cloth face covering is anything that completely covers the mouth and nose and fits securely on the sides of the face and under the chin. It should be made of two or more layers of tightly woven fabric with ties or straps that go around a person head or behind their ears.

If a student or staff member needs a cloth face covering, we will provide them with one. If a student or staff member needs an accommodation, they should work with their principal or supervisor individually.

Before School Symptom Screening

All Schools

Regardless of vaccination, staff and students should not come to school if they are experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19. Review the symptom flow chart to determine if testing is needed and when you can return to school, or check with your school.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever (100.4° F or higher) or chills
  • Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat, nasal congestion, or runny nose
  • Recent loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Unusual fatigue

Staff and students should not come to school or work if:

  • They are unvaccinated and a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • They tested positive within the past ten days or have been told to self-isolate or self-quarantine because of concerns about a COVID-19 infection.
Getting Tested

Review the symptom flow chart to determine if testing is needed and when your child can return to school.  If a negative COVID test is required prior to returning to school, you can request and schedule a COVID-19 test at:

Students and staff will need to have improving symptoms and a negative test in order to return to work and school.

A molecular PCR test is needed to return to school before 10 days. A home rapid antigen test will not be accepted.

What is "Test to Stay"?

Test to Stay is a program under the K12 Department of Health guidelines and has an unvaccinated close contact follow a modified quarantine.

Unvaccinated students who are close contacts of a school-based exposure are tested for COVID-19 and may complete a seven-day modified quarantine in which they are permitted to leave at-home quarantine only to attend school classes and are not permitted to participate in extracurricular or community activities. They may follow the modified quarantine if they are tested, all tests are negative, do not have symptoms for COVID-19, continue to wear a mask and not participate in all extracurricular activities at school, including sports, and other activities outside their home (e.g., scouts, music lessons, etc.) for the entirety of their modified quarantine period.

Close contacts should continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If someone develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home, contact their health care provider for clinical evaluation and testing, and notify their school.  

Families must give their consent for Test to Stay.

Why are our schools implementing “Test to Stay” instead of having students quarantine?

Testing is a way to keep kids in school and keep schools open. Testing, like masking and vaccinations, is a layer of mitigation. If a student is unvaccinated, a close contact of a school-based exposure and eligible for “test to stay,” we test students and keep them in class (as opposed to sending them home to quarantine). Based on the state requirements, a person who is fully vaccinated does not have to test or quarantine. They should look for symptoms, and testing is recommended 5-7 days after exposure.

If a person tests positive for COVID, regardless of vaccination status, they must stay home to isolate. They can come back to school/work 10 days since the date of symptom onset or positive PCR or rapid antigen test collection if no symptoms. You do not need a negative test to return.

Arrival and Departure

Arrival

Students should have masks on when they arrive to school.

At elementary school, students may arrive 30 minutes before the school day.

At middle and high school, students may enter 15 minutes before the start of the school day and depart within 15 minutes of the end of the school day.

Students will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when they enter the building.

Dismissal

At the end of the school day, students will go to their bus, pick-up line, on-campus athletics or activities, or bike/walk home. If waiting for pick-up or buses, students should maintain physical distance from other students and wait for transportation.

The Classroom

The Classroom

Two icons that represent people standing distanced

Classroom space has been designed to allow each student to maintain physical distance and have independent workspace. This may be a different classroom or common space depending on the school building.

Meals and Recess

School Meals

All school meals are free of charge for the 2021-22 school year; students may also choose to bring a meal from home. 

Students will practice good health hygiene by washing (preferred) or sanitizing hands before and after mealtime. 

Student eating areas will be dependent on the school; in most cases, flexible indoor and outdoor seating will be available to honor physical distancing. 

Recess

Masks are optional when outside. Students can use recess as mask break time. When students re-enter the school building, they will put on their mask.

Screening Room

If a student begins to feel unwell during the school day, they will be directed to a designated screening room. There a school nurse or trained staff member will assess their symptoms. Parents will be notified if their child needs to be picked up from school.

We have adopted a districtwide philosophy of “all screening, all the time,” where all adults are asked to screen students for symptoms of illness. We use this symptom flow chart to guide next steps for students with symptoms of illness.

Every family is required to have up-to-date contact information and emergency contacts in Skyward and Seesaw. Families can visit our Skylert instructions webpage for instructions on how to update their contact information.

Transportation

Using Infofinder to find your bus stop and time:

If your child will be riding the bus to/from school, you can find their bus stop and time at Infofinder. Enter your street address (no zip code or school) and you will be able to see the location and times for your child. Please note that as enrollment changes we will make adjustments to bus stops and times as needed, and you can always see the most up-to-date information by checking Infofinder.

Key safety reminders:

  • Please arrive at the bus stop five minutes prior to the scheduled time in the morning.
  • Masks are required while on the bus. Please have your mask on when the bus arrives.
  • Siblings will sit in the same seat as possible.

For transportation help or questions:

If you have any questions about transportation, please contact your school office, or call transportation directly at 360-676-6546.

Cleaning Protocols and Supplies
  • Custodians will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at the end of the day. 
  • Custodians will clean and disinfect during the day as needed. 
  • Teachers may use school-provided cleaners for spot cleaning during the school day. This cleaner is effective at removing virus and is safe to use. 
  • No students or adults should bring their own cleaning supplies, as all cleaners used in schools must meet state and district environmental standards. 
Notification Protocol for Confirmed Cases

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.
What if my child needs to quarantine?

Learning for Students in Quarantine

During the 2021-22 school year, some students will need to be remote for periods of time due to quarantine or illness.

Our number one priority is for your child and family to be healthy. Families will determine the level of participation based on their child’s health. When students need temporary remote instruction, here is the learning support you can expect.

Individual Quarantine: Communication will take place between the teacher and family to connect and facilitate student participation and progress. Student may complete assigned learning tasks or other online or independent learning activities as determined with the teacher.

Classroom or school quarantine: Class may move to online instruction using Zoom or Teams. Students could follow the class schedule with their teachers and classmates, following the 2020-21 school year schedule:

Athletics and Activities Information

Guidelines for athletics

updated Nov. 1, 2021: Key guidance document: Washington State Department of Health's most recent guidance for schools, published Oct. 4, 2021. We also follow all other state and local guidance or regulations.

We are looking forward to more typical seasons for our student athletes this year, and it will take extra teamwork on the part of athletes, coaches, families and our other staff to keep our athletes healthy and playing.

Overview of prevention measures

Our athletic programs will follow the Department of Health guidance for prevention and mitigation strategies; however, we also recognize that choosing to engage in athletics is a choice that carries additional risk (and great reward!). Prevention and mitigation in athletics may look slightly different than prevention and mitigation in classrooms.

Vaccination

We encourage all families and athletes to consider immunizing against COVID-19, not just for their individual health, but the health and safety of our schools and community. Fully immunized athletes do not need to quarantine if they are a close contact to a confirmed case. At this time, our athletic program will not collect student athletes’ vaccination status as a prerequisite to play; however, athletes’ immunization status will need to be shared in case of need for contact tracing.

Masks for athletes, coaches, volunteers and spectators

The Department of Health guidelines require masks for all athletes and adults under these circumstances:

  • indoors when not practicing or competing.
  • in weight room.
  • on buses
  • for all spectators indoors.
  • for all spectators outdoors at events of more than 500 people. (updated September 2021)

The guidelines recommend masks for all athletes and adults under these circumstances:

  • when practicing indoors.
  • when unvaccinated athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and/or support personnel are in close proximity, such as standing on the sidelines, in a huddle or sitting in a dugout.
Screening testing

Updated 11/22/2021:
Following state requirements from the Department of Health and WIAA, BPS will collect vaccination status of students involved in high-contact or high-aerosolizing activities:

  • sports: wrestling, basketball, cheerleading
  • extracurricular performances and activities (e.g. plays)

For unvaccinated students or those who don’t wish to disclose their vaccination status, BPS will conduct screening testing. Families will need to consent to testing using a form provided by schools/coaches.

Screening testing, like masking and vaccinations, is a layer of mitigation. It is a way to keep kids in school and activities and keep schools open.

Responding to suspected cases of COVID-19

If a student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19, our communications department and school administration will initiate our communication plan. If a coach or Athletic Coordinator learns of a positive COVID-19 case, they will immediately contact the athletic trainer, assistant principal, principal, or nurse.

If a student is at practice and demonstrates symptoms of COVID-19, coaches will immediately contact the
athletic trainer or nurse. Depending on the situation, the student may be taken to the COVID isolation room or remain isolated while outside waiting to leave practice or competition.

On occasion, optional screening testing may be offered at school; for example, if there is a confirmed case within a team.

Returning to school and sports

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 will follow BPS COVID-19 protocols for contact tracing and return to school and activity. Coaches and athletic trainers will work closely with the Director of Health Services to ensure compliance with any quarantine and/or testing requirements prior to returning to school and sports.

Contact tracing and quarantine

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within any of our sports, we will follow our district contact tracing protocols. Our school nurses and athletic trainers will work together with district COVID lead and the Whatcom County Health Department to determine if someone needs to quarantine. Fully vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine but should monitor their health for symptoms; testing is also recommended 5-7 days after first exposure. On occasion, optional screening testing may be offered at school if there is a confirmed case within a team.

Those recovered from COVID-19 within the past three months do not need to quarantine. See pages 11-12 of the Department of Health guidelines for more specifics about contact tracing and quarantining.

WIAA classification of sports

WIAA has classified each sport as low, moderate, or high contact.

The level of contact and whether the sport is indoor or outdoor determines some aspects of the sport's COVID risk mitigation strategies.

High School fall sports:

  1. Low contact (indoor): Dance (no contact), Swimming
  2. Low contact (outdoor): Tennis (singles), Cross Country, Track and Field
  3. Moderate contact (indoor): Cheerleading (high aerosolizing), Dance (contact), Volleyball
  4. Moderate contact (outdoor): Soccer, Tennis (doubles), Softball (slowpitch)
  5. High contact (indoor): none
  6. High contact (outdoor): Football

High school winter sports:

  1. Low contact (indoor): Swimming, Dance (no contact), Bowling
  2. Low contact (outdoor): n/a
  3. Moderate contact (indoor): Cheerleading (high aerosolizing), Dance (contact), Gymnastics
  4. Moderate contact (outdoor): n/a
  5. High contact (indoor): Basketball, Wrestling
  6. High contact (outdoor): n/a

Spring Sports

  1. Low contact (indoor):
  2. Low contact (outdoor):
  3. Moderate contact (indoor):
  4. Moderate contact (outdoor)
  5. High contact (indoor):
  6. High contact (outdoor):

Information for Staff

Human Resources Information Related to COVID-19

 

Questions?

Call

360-676-6470 ext. 6533

Email

BPS.Health@bellinghamschools.org

 

WA DOH K-12 Guidance and Requirements

COVID-19 Dashboard