Dear International Families,

I truly am looking forward to the day when I don’t need to spend as much time discussing COVID protocols, but we are not there yet. As you know, we are currently seeing a surge of COVID in the community—as well as in schools in the general area. The district provided a lengthy Health and Safety Update on Monday evening and I would encourage everyone to take the time to read through that. Since that came out, we have had opportunities to dive a bit deeper into the changing situation. I want to take time to share some information as well as to highlight some specific shifts that are coming. This will be a bit lengthy as well, so I apologize in advance.

Let me start with the fact that we enjoyed a wonderful, COVID-free fall at International School. We did not have our first positive cases until right before winter break—an extension of the regional spread that was seen at that time. After the break, we had a number of students letting us know that they were staying home due to COVID, but those were not contracted during school time. Since then, we have begun to see some students who have become positive for COVID and have been at school.

Additionally, we have seen the impact in our pool testing. When we did pooled surveillance testing in December, we had zero positive pools; last week we had five positive pools. I will discuss what the process looks like for when we have positive pools below. The amount of positive pools we saw was similar to the ratio in other buildings during this time. The good news at this time is that each positive pool only had one positive student in it (not multiple students) and no staff were impacted. We have generally seen in increase in students and staff participating in the pool testing. If you are still interested, you may provide consent HERE.


Russell White, Principal



Families who choose to isolate as a precaution, due to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, will continue to receive excused absences until further notice. Please contact our Attendance Office if you wish to utilize this option.


Shift in Pool Testing

  1. We will be moving our pool testing to Thursday during 3rd period. This is intended to help us get results back a little bit earlier.
  2. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID should not participate in pool testing for 90 days. Upon advice from health officials, the PCR tests may continue to return positive results for this time. If you had initially planned on your student participating in the pool testing and you are in this situation, please log back in to Healthcheck to remove your student from testing. Once the 90 days has passed, you may provide consent again. This will prevent students from accidently being included and will limit unnecessary positive pools.


Responding to Positive Pools

Here is the general plan for pools that return positive results:

  1. Members of the pool will be notified through email and text by the school.
  2. Members of the pool then have a diagnostic test using an antigen rapid test to quickly identify the positive individual(s) of the pool. This past week, results came in on a Sunday morning and the district was able to provide this service for a couple of hours at the district office. This may or may not be able to continue.
  3. Regardless of #2 above, members of the pool who have not tested individually will be called out of class first thing the next school day for individual diagnostic testing using antigen rapid tests. Students and staff who are negative will be able to return to class. Positive individuals will be sent home.
  4. In the event that rapid tests do not identify a positive member of a positive pool, we will test all members again using individual PCR diagnostic tests. This may take a couple of days for results. Individuals may continue to attend school if they do not have symptoms.


Response to Cases and Suspected Cases: Isolation and Quarantine Update

Isolation is when someone who has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive stays home and away from others. Regardless of vaccination status, individuals may return after 5 days

  • From test date if asymptomatic (test day is day 0)
  • From symptom onset if symptoms resolving and more than 24 hours since fever (symptom onset day is day 0)
  • If symptoms develop after testing while asymptomatic, symptom onset day is the new day 0


Quarantine is when someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 stays home and away from others in case they were infected and are contagious. Close contacts who are up to date with vaccination or have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 90 days and do not have symptoms do not quarantine, but must wear masks for 14 days and monitor.

Those not up to date on vaccination:

  • Test to Stay- 2 tests within 5 days
  • Quarantine 5 days with negative test at day 5, back day 6
  • Quarantine 10 days without test, back day 11

If symptoms arise, isolate and test.  If not able to test, isolate as if the person is positive.


Communication Shifts

Back in December, the district communication plan was to send letters home each time there was a case. These were sent out AFTER contact tracing was fully completed. With the number of cases being experienced at this time, this approach is being discontinued. Here are the communications that will be going out:

  1. There will be communications to all members of a positive pool.
  2. Those who do test positive for COVID will receive a communication guidance on next steps to return to school.
  3. Potential close contacts (members of a “core group”) will receive a communication. Remember, students in the same class who are 3 feet away and masked would NOT be considered close contacts.



First Semester Finals Schedule

Finals for first semester will take place during the week of January 23 – 28. Finals periods are spread out so students do not have more than 2 finals on a given day. Not every class will have a final and teachers should be communicating to students what the status if for their class. Friday after lunch is a time for “make up finals” for our high school students. High school students may leave early if they have completed all finals. Middle school students will have class.

1st Semester Final Schedule

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.