by Bryan Smith, COVID-19 health and safety officer
First, thank you to everyone for making the start of the school year go so smoothly. Please read the follow updates closely — they involve a change to our policies, important reminders, and new information.
Vaccinated students no longer need to complete daily screening questions
We are no longer requiring vaccinated students to fill out the Magnus Health COVID screening questions each morning. Unvaccinated students will still need to complete the form, including taking their temperature, each day they are on campus. Everyone — vaccinated and unvaccinated — should continue to monitor for their general health. If anyone develops COVID symptoms, they should stay home and get tested as soon as possible.
PCR and antigen testing
As you know, we have moved our weekly PCR testing to Thursday. It is critical that students test on the day they are scheduled. If a student misses their on-campus COVID test, they need to get tested off-campus. We can not allow students who miss one week to test the next week; it breaks down the system and creates a massive backlog. Students must read their emails and get PCR tested on the determined schedule. An antigen test may not be substituted for a PCR test. Any individual who experiences COVID-19 symptoms will be tested on campus immediately with an antigen test; depending on the outcome, they may be directed to get a PCR test off-campus.
In the last four weeks, we have PCR tested over 2,000 individuals. One person tested positive through on-campus COVID testing, and two people tested positive through off-campus tests. The goal of testing — and many of our mitigation measures — is to quickly address infection and prevent spread among our community. With the regional rates of infection remaining high, we can not prevent infection among our community, but we can act quickly to contain it.
I have received a few questions about things where we must hold a clear line.
- To maintain medical confidentiality, we cannot share information about positive cases. Please do not ask for this information.
- We cannot provide people with individualized testing results. If your student needs a negative test result for non-Lakeside events or activities, they need to be tested at an outside facility. The goal of Lakeside testing is to keep school open and to keep our community healthy.
Things to discuss with your student
In your conversations with your student, please emphasize the following:
- Lunch is the most dangerous part of the day, because students have their masks off to eat and drink. Please talk to your student about maintaining at least 3-feet distance while unmasked and eating.
- It is important that they have the Trace contact tracing app whenever they are involved in a school activity. It is the main tool we use to determine close contacts (as defined by the Washington State Department of Health), which in turn determines what students need to do if they have been exposed.
Additionally, please keep your student home if they have cold symptoms. What seems like “just a cold” could be early symptoms of the virus. If symptoms persist, get a PCR test and wait for results.
We want to encourage all families to be careful of air travel — especially over school breaks. Please follow guidelines from the CDC and the Washington State Department of Health. Unvaccinated students that travel by plane must quarantine for seven days upon return and get a negative PCR test before they may return to classes. Vaccinated students do not need to quarantine but must get tested three to five days after the flight and monitor for symptoms.
Please read Director of Athletics Chris Hartley’s update from Thursday, Sept. 23. All Lakeside athletes and coaches are required to wear masks at all times when competing against a Seattle Public School team. Read his full update.
Get the flu shot
Recently, epidemiologists and medical professionals have warned the general public about this year’s upcoming flu season, noting that it could be more virulent than in previous years. Please do your part by getting everyone in your family the flu shot, so we can remain healthy as a community and keep school open. Learn more.
Our health and safety webpage has been updated with information from this update; we will share additional updates to health and safety information when they become available.
Thank you for your continued support of Lakeside’s health and safety protocols!