During today’s special meeting held by the Bellevue District School Board Directors, Interim Superintendent Art Jarvis confirmed that students and staff will return tomorrow, January 4, 2022, for in-person learning. This also includes those attending online through the BSD Virtual Academy.
Parents who choose to isolate as a precaution because of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant during the week of January 4-7, are asked to notify their student’s school first. This time will be viewed as an excused absence and learning will continue to take place, with your student’s teacher providing information on how your student will receive instruction during this time.
What test is Bellevue School District using? Why was this test selected?
Bellevue school district offers two types of tests: PCR and antigen. Both diagnostic testing and pooled surveillance testing will be completed via a shallow nasal swab. Atlas Genomics tests were selected because they are PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, providing more accurate test results than rapid antigen testing. Antigen tests, with rapid results available in 15 minutes, are used for reflux testing following a positive pool. All tests are approved for self-administration under a trained observer (does not need to be a health care professional) for people ages 4 and up, allowing for more efficient and expanded access.
How can I participate in testing?
- BSD staff and students who are symptomatic or have been exposed to COVID-19 will be referred for diagnostic testing. During that referral process, individuals will be given the option to take their diagnostic test in the isolation room at their school or at ESC West (12011 NE 1st St) for central district staff.
- To opt in-to pooled surveillance testing, staff, and students (if aged 18) or their parent/guardian will need to complete a consent form. Upon completion of the consent form, staff and students will be able to participate in the next pooled surveillance opportunity scheduled for their school.
How are pools for surveillance testing determined?
Pools for surveillance testing is determined by schools. BSD is looking to identify cases in our population and will have those individuals isolate as soon as possible.
What PPE is needed for testing?
- Diagnostic testing takes place in the isolation room or a nearby outdoor location with individuals who are symptomatic or have been exposed to COVID-19. Individuals will self-administer the nasal swab. During diagnostic testing, staff should wear the PPE typically worn in this location, as guided by Labor and Industry’s Which Mask for Which Task (PDF).
- Pooled surveillance testing takes place in the classroom or work location, with individuals that are not symptomatic or exposed. Individuals will self-administer the nasal swab. During the brief time when the mask is lowered to collect the sample, physical distancing should be increased as much as possible. Typically, no additional PPE is needed. However, if students need assistance with the self administration, adults may need additional PPE as guided by Labor and Industry’s Which Mask for Which Task (PDF). Further, please see our COVID-19 Health and Safety website pages to learn about the other mitigating measures currently in place in our schools, including: ventilation, hand washing procedures, cleaning regimens, etc.
For more information on what to do if a child needs assistance with swabbing their nose, please see the information under Tests Click here to see a list of BSD schools and their schedule for testing. Learn how your student can participate in COVID-19 testing in BSD schools.
We ask that families continue to practice the nine mitigating measures used in BSD schools, along with following Public Health — Seattle & King County and Washington State Department of Health guidelines. Please continue to reference BSD’s COVID-19 Health and Safety webpages where updates will be made as they are made available. Bellevue School District will continue to:
- offer COVID-19 testing and Test to Stay in all BSD schools
- host COVID-19 vaccination clinics for staff and students
- provide PPE and sanitation supplies to promote health safety for staff and students
- support families through the BSD Virtual Academy, for students who are unable to attend school in person
- practice all COVID-19 mitigating measures
- provide local and regional health updates through Public Health — Seattle & King County and the Washington State Department of Health
BSD’s Health Guidance Determination
The district closely monitors any change in health guidance, specifically from Public Health — Seattle & King County and Washington State Department of Health, and works as quickly as possible to incorporate it into our operations and inform families so you can effectively plan for students. Initial guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health must then be implemented by King County Public Health before BSD updates its guidance.
It is reported that COVID-19 cases can present like a typical “cold.” However, if you are experiencing any of the common COVID-19 symptoms, cold-like symptoms, or not feeling well:
- Get tested immediately (The PCR is still the gold standard, especially for symptomatic people and is the most specific and sensitive COVID-19 test.).
- Do not wait and hope it goes away soon; and
- Isolate yourself or family member(s).
Save the Date: January 7 Vaccine Clinic
BSD will be hosting a vaccine clinic, in partnership with Safeway, on January 7 at Sammamish High School, from 5-9 p.m. The clinic will offer COVID-19 vaccinations for students ages 5+ and boosters for students 16+.
Further details and the signup link will be shared with families on January 4.