Last updated January 21, 2022, 5:50 p.m. – Learn more about this update
Bellevue School District offers diagnostic testing for COVID-19. Diagnostic testing looks for infections in individuals who have symptoms of or have been exposed to COVID-19.
Scroll down to learn more about: Testing Consent, Diagnostic Testing, and Frequently Asked Questions.
Testing may only occur with permission and consent. You may provide us with information on your desire to opt-in or opt-out of the COVID-19 testing by completing this COVID Testing Consent form. Because the Washington Department of Health requires the district to obtain written parental consent for minor students, and assent/consent for students themselves if they are 18 or over and their own legal guardian, any student or that does not provide consent will not be tested.
Staff and students who show any symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 will be referred to test at their school site, a central location, or with an outside provider. If someone tests positive, they will be asked to isolate for at least 5 days and until symptoms have resolved.
If someone tests negative, they will be asked to isolate until symptoms have improved, per the guidance in the Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 Symptom Decision Tree for Schools (please note that as of January 10, 2022, the Decision Tree has not yet been updated to reflect the 5-day isolation/quarantine minimum implemented on January 4).
Order At-Home Tests
To support access to COVID-19 testing, the federal government is providing up to four (4) rapid antigen tests to each household, starting in late January. Order your household’s tests at COVIDtests.gov.
In addition, the Washington State Department of Health has ordered one (1) million at-home COVID-19 tests, which will be distributed to schools when they are available. BSD is waiting to hear from WA DOH about when, where and how these tests will be distributed.
In addition to tests that will be available through the schools, Washington State Department of Health has a website where you can request free, rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits to residents of eligible communities. Sign up through Say Yes! COVID Test.
Diagnostic Testing – Frequently Asked Questions
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.
- To opt in-to school-based diagnostic 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 diagnostic testing in Bellevue School District.
What PPE is needed for testing?
- Diagnostic testing takes place in a well-ventilated 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).
- 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 below.
When and where will testing occur?
- Diagnostic testing takes place in a well-ventilated area on an as-needed basis when students are referred for testing based on symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19. Diagnostic testing availability varies by building. Diagnostic testing is not currently available for students at ESC West.
How will I know my test results?
- Diagnostic testing results, regardless of if they are positive or negative, will be sent to the individual who was tested directly from the lab by email or by text message. These results will also be provided to the District COVID-19 Coordinator. Contact tracing will then begin with the positive individual
How will I know the results of the diagnostic testing at my school or work location?
Positive test results from diagnostic testing that occur in the Bellevue School District will be shown on the Bellevue School District COVID Dashboard. More information can be found on our Responding to Cases and Suspected Cases webpage.
What test is Bellevue School District using? Why was this test selected?
Bellevue school district offers two types of tests: PCR and antigen. Diagnostic 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 testing people who qualify for Test to Stay protocols. 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.
What is the test like?
Diagnostic testing will be completed via a shallow nasal swab. Shallow nasal swabs are not the dreaded “brain tickler” or nasopharyngeal swab. The swab only enters half-an-inch into each nostril, makes three to four rotations, and is placed, swab-side down, in the collection tube. The samples are collected by a designated person at the building. PCR tests are picked up by a courier. Those collection tubes are sent to the lab and results are provided as soon as possible.
What if my child needs help with testing?
Some students may need assistance when swabbing their nose for testing. For diagnostic testing, a student’s parent or guardian may assist by swabbing the nose using the same process instead of self-administration.
What is the cost?
All testing is free, meaning there are no out-of-pocket costs or co-pay for students or staff. The Washington State Department of Health covers the cost of diagnostic testing with funding available through July 2022.
Who may participate in testing?
All COVID-19 tests administered in Bellevue School District are available through grants for the purpose of keeping schools open. Please note:
- Tests can only be provided to Bellevue School District staff and students.
- Diagnostic tests can only be provided to symptomatic individuals and those that have been close contacts of an infected person.
- Tests cannot be provided for pre or post travel requirements.
What guidance does the BSD follow when there are positive cases?
Bellevue School District will follow Washington State Department of Health guidance when responding to positive cases and implementing test to stay protocols. That information can be found here.
Bellevue School District has been approved by Public Health — Seattle King County (PH-SK) to use a test to stay protocol for students and staff who are not up-to-date with the COVID 19 vaccine. If a student or staff member is identified as a close contact and is not up-to-date with the vaccine, they can remain in school as long as they agree to the following, per PH-SKC requirements:
- The student must test at least twice during the 5 days of quarantine. One test within 24 hours of identification as a close contact, and a test again on day 5.
- The student or employee must perform the testing at school or by an outside agency observed by healthcare personnel. Tests conducted at home by the parent, guardian or individual will not be accepted.
- The student must continue to quarantine from (i.e., not participate in) all social gatherings and community activities. They may participate in extracurricular activities at school, including sports, and can attend childcare or youth development programs provided before and after school. Employees who are participating in test to stay must not participate in social gatherings or community activities during the modified quarantine.
What training is provided to those administering the tests?
The shallow nasal swab for can be self-administered by anyone ages 4 and up under the observation of a trained individual called a “test observer.” The test observer does not need to be a healthcare professional, as the test does not require a formal certification. Training is quick and easy. Staff that will serve as test observers (such as those that work in isolation rooms or classroom teachers) can receive training either through a self-guided video or at a hosted session provided by Bellevue School District.
What training is available for students participating in the tests?
The shallow nasal swab can be self-administered by anyone ages 4 and up. Training is quick and easy and available as videos, visuals or through modeling by a participating adult.