Guidance for the Holidays/Winter Season
As you may be aware and as was highlighted in last week’s Principal’s Letter, we are in the midst of a “triple-demic” – RSV, COVID-19, and Influenza (flu) cases are all increasing, and hospitalizations are the highest they have been in a decade. While we have not had high rates of COVID-19 at St. John, we have had high rates of absences for various illnesses that are circulating in our community. As we head into the holidays this winter season with travel and gatherings, please keep the following guidance in mind:
- COVID rapid test kits are available to pick up in the main office. Please stop by and stock up on test kits to use during the holidays and as we return to school in January.
- It is strongly recommended that students take a COVID test on the morning before returning to school on 1/3/2023.
- Please remember children must stay home if they are sick. Help keep our student and staff community healthy by keeping children home from school if they are sick.
- Masking at school continues to be optional. However, local health officers and healthcare leaders recommend masking indoors given the unprecedented surge in viral respiratory illnesses. Please see more information from Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Reminder: Recommendations after COVID-19 Exposure
The school would like to remind families of the Department of Health (DOH) guidance regarding exposures to COVID-19. Following a household exposure to COVID-19 (i.e. sibling(s) or parent(s) test positive):
- Students should wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask (KN95 or KF94) around others for 10 days after exposure.
- Students should rapid test after exposure. Since we have rapid test kits available to students, it is recommended that students test daily or every other day until 5 days after their last exposure.
- Monitor for symptoms and keep students home if symptoms are present.
Coming to St. John in January: One Rapid Test that Detects Both COVID-19 AND Influenza
The Department of Health (DOH) is now offering a new rapid antigen test – BD Triplex, which detects COVID-19 and Influenza A&B in one single test. St. John will have this test on campus beginning in January, and it can be used to test students who have symptoms of illness at school.
- A consent form must be signed by a parent/guardian in order for a student to be tested using BD Triplex. An online consent form will be available in January. Parents/guardians will be notified prior to the student being tested.
- This test will only be available at school because it requires a specific analyzer to obtain results.
- Parents/guardians will be notified of their student’s test results.
- For more information and FAQs, please read this letter.
Have a safe, healthy, and joyful holiday and a Happy New Year! If you have questions, please reach out to our school nurse – Dora Hall, ARNP – at email@example.com.