An Independent School • Grades 5-12

It has been a busy week, and we recognize that there have been many health and safety emails. Our goal today is to share one new piece of information about boosters, clarify information about shortened isolation periods, and recap other important recent announcements. 

New: Booster shots added to Lakeside vaccine requirement 

Given the new omicron variant and the levels of infection in the region, Lakeside is extending our vaccine requirement to include a booster shot for all students and adults who are eligible. Families need to upload their student’s booster shot information to Magnus Health, as soon as the student receives the booster. You can find instructions for how to upload records on our health and safety page on the right hand side under “Family Checklist.” 

Boosters are important because protection from the initial doses decreases over time. The booster shot “boosts” immunity and maximizes protection. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed an extra Pfizer shot for younger teens — those 12 to 15 — and strengthened its recommendation that 16- and 17-year-olds get it, too. More information is in this article from the Seattle Times. You can find information and locations with appointments on the King County vaccination website.

Clarification: Shortened isolation period

The CDC recently amended the isolation period for infected individuals from 10 days to five days; they also added a recommendation that those who had previously tested positive to take an antigen test in order to return to school after their isolation period. Lakeside’s Medical Advisory Board has recommended that we adopt the CDC recommendations. 

Here are important details to know:

  • From the CDC: “Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 should stay home and isolate from other people for at least five full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons).” Information about the CDC guidance for isolation protocols and timeline are here. We also recommend that you review the FAQ, “What we know about quarantine and isolation,”  particularly the question “When does the clock start on the five days of isolation and quarantine?”
  • This means that if a student tests positive via a PCR test, the first day of their five days of isolation should begin the day after they test; or, if they are symptomatic, the first full day after they develop symptoms. 
  • After the five-day isolation, a student must take an antigen test. 
    • If they test positive, they must continue to isolate for an additional five days. After a total of 10 days, they may return to school if they have a negative antigen test. 
    • If they test negative, the student may return to campus the following day. 
    • More information can be found on the CDC’s Quarantine and Isolation webpage, in the section titled “Ending isolation for people who had COVID-19”; there is a section for those who had symptoms and those who were symptomatic. 

This week, given the complication of winter break, Lakeside’s administrative team made the firm decision that anyone who tested positive for COVID via PCR on Sunday, Jan. 2 or Monday, Jan. 3 will need to learn remotely through Friday, Jan. 7. Our goal is to limit any potential spread on campus. Teachers, student support, and technology staff are supporting students who are learning remotely this week. If you have any questions, please contact Director of Student and Family Support Jamie Asaka and a member of the student support team will give you guidance.

Based on the high risk nature of winter sports, any winter athlete who tests positive must abstain from athletics for 10 days (five days of isolation plus an additional five days). Please continue to read all communications from Director of Athletics Chris Hartley for sport or season specific information. 

Recap: Jan. 3 deadline for vaccination records, ages 12 and under

This past Monday, Jan. 3, was the deadline for all students to have their vaccination records uploaded. You can find instructions for how to upload records on our health and safety page on the right hand side under “Family Checklist.” We are contacting families this week who have not yet uploaded the records. 

Recap: PCR testing on Thursday, Jan. 6. 

We had our weekly PCR testing on Thursday, Jan. 6 for all unvaccinated students, winter athletes, and any community member who wanted to be tested again. Test results should be available on Friday evening. 

  • If your student tests positive, you will receive a phone call or email from Lakeside. 
  • If your student tests negative, you will not receive a personalized communication. 

As always, we will send a community-wide email about test results. 

Parents and guardians: Please discuss with your student 

We recognize that some in our community may be feeling tired from the daily uncertainty of the pandemic and continued public health restrictions. COVID has had a major impact on students’ social and emotional health over the last 22 months and it is understandable that COVID fatigue has taken its toll. However, for the sake of our community and our students’ learning, it is critical that we continue to stick with the things that have kept our community healthy. If we let our guard down now, we become vulnerable to infection and potential spread of the virus. While early reports about the omicron variant indicate that it doesn’t cause as many hospitalizations as delta, it is more contagious than previous variants. As it gets colder and more students are inside, our overall risk increases. 

We conducted 1,063 PCR tests on Sunday and Monday and 64 members of our community tested positive for COVID. This infection rate is the highest that we have seen at Lakeside this year. 

In the coming months, it will be critical that we continue to follow the health and safety protocols we have in place. Parents and guardians: Please talk with your student about the importance of following these measures, especially during the winter months.

  • Masking. Please make sure your student has a mask every day for classes. The main offices have a small supply of masks in case of an emergency, but students should bring their own from home, every day.  In addition, it is important that all community members wear their mask properly at all times when in classrooms, hallways, and other common areas. More information about masks can be found on this CDC webpage.
  • Contact tracing and Trace. All students and adults must have their Trace app on and functioning before they come to campus each morning. If we have a positive case, this is the main way we are able to contact trace and reach out to close contacts in a timely manner. If your student does not have their Trace app on and functioning, there is no way to know if they could have been exposed. In order to prevent possible spread, communicating to those affected is essential. It helps keep the school open and not have to shut down an entire grade, division, or the entire school due to an outbreak.
  • Stay home if sick.  If your student begins to feel ill and develop symptoms that are associated with COVID, please keep them home from school and get them tested. It is better to keep your student home for one to two days and wait for the results rather than send them to school where the illness could spread. We must partner with parents and guardians to make sure students understand the importance of keeping themselves and others safe; that could mean they need to stay out of school until they know for sure that an illness is not a possible COVID infection.  

All members of the Lakeside community have a shared responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To find a full list of the school’s health and safety procedures that students and families follow, visit our health and safety webpage. Please review that page to see if your question can be answered; due to the daily volume of emails I am receiving from the community, it may be some time before I can get back to you if you have a specific question. 

Thank you for all you do to keep our community safe.