COVID Safety: COVID case levels and recommendations

A Message from the COVID safety team  

Coexisting with COVID-19

Public health leaders say COVID-19 is here to stay and we can continue to use the tools we’ve learned thus far to protect ourselves, our families and our community. These tools include vaccination and boosters, staying home when sick, testing if you have symptoms or after exposure, masking based on the situation, and talking with a health care provider about treatment if you test positive for COVID.

Staying healthy and safe when cases rise  

While Whatcom County moved back to low from a medium COVID-19 community level, we continue to see COVID cases across our schools and in the Bellingham area. We will continue to follow the Washington State Department of Health’s and our local health department’s requirements for schools, which include asking those with symptoms or who test positive for COVID to stay home; notification of exposures; outbreak management; and ensuring access to testing and vaccination.

To help individuals and families make decisions, the CDC and WCHD have provided guidance to help you determine what is right for you and your family. For example, they advise those in communities with medium COVID level to:

  • stay up to date on COVID vaccinations,
  • stock up on rapid antigen tests,
  • stay home if sick,
  • consider wearing a mask and testing again in a couple days if you have symptoms of COVID but feel well enough to be at work or school and have tested negative,
  • follow recommendations for isolation and quarantine including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or if you have symptoms, and
  • if you or someone in your home is immunocompromised or high risk for severe illness talk with your health care provider about your risks and consider regular testing and masking.

When cases rise, what does this mean for schools and for planned school events?

We continue to prioritize in-person learning, athletics and activities, and family events. These activities will continue as planned and we will communicate with families if anything changes.

A reminder on returning to school after testing positive for COVID-19

A negative test is not required to return to work or school. If symptoms are improving and you are 24 hours fever free, you may return on day 6 after symptom onset or test collection date as long as you wear a mask for days 6-10. If you test positive on day 6 or after, you must continue to remain home in isolation through day 10.


Reminders from our most recent COVID safety message including how to get tests from our schools, information on the vaccine clinic on Saturday, May 21 at Shuksan Middle School and other important health reminders. Please see our message from April 21 or our COVID-19 webpage for more information.

Questions or concerns? Please contact the Health Services Department and COVID safety team at 360-676-6455 or email