Guidance from the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
COVID-19 Information for Schools and Childcare
Make sure staff and families know where to find accurate information.
COVID-19 Metrics for Schools
On Aug. 5, Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health issued a report on in-person learning for K-12 students at public and private schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a decision tree for in-person learning for K-12 schools. The decision tree provides 4 metrics for school administrators and local Health Officers considering in-person instruction:
- The 14-day case rate per 100,000. Moderate target range = 75 to 25 per 100,000 population. Low target range = under 25 per 100,000 population.
- The trend in percent of COVID-19 tests that are positive. Target = under 5% and stable or decreasing.
- The trend in new cases of COVID-19 by day. Target = stable or decreasing.
- The trend in hospitalizations because of COVID-19. Target = stable or decreasing.
These metrics are essential benchmarks our community must meet. Then, the Health Officer, working with school partners, will evaluate when a gradual return to in-person education models can begin. We support school districts as they plan to implement a safe return to in-person learning for all students.
CURRENT DASHBOARD: COVID-19 Metrics for Schools Dashboard
Schools should prepare to return to the education modality for high disease activity level: “distance learning with the option for limited in-person learning in small groups, or cohorts, of students for the highest need students.”
Read the letter we sent to school superintendents concerning schools and rising case counts.
Staff may need to return to buildings for limited activities or to use equipment for remote learning. Staff who need to use school buildings should follow these general guidelines.
Back to school planning.
- Use our School COVID-19 Case Response Toolkit to help plan your response to positive cases.
- Make your back to school orientation as safe as possible with COVID-19 planning considerations.
Letters to schools.
- March. 12—COVID-19 School update.
- Feb. 19—COVID-19 School update.
- Feb. 4—COVID-19 School update.
- Feb. 4—Blog: We support state guidelines that enable students to return to classrooms.
- Jan. 15—COVID-19 School update.
- Dec. 24—Blog: Successful testing pilot inspires hope in schools.
- Dec. 22—COVID-19 School updates.
- Nov. 4—COVID-19 cases have continued to increase over the past weeks.
Oct. 29—$7.8 million COVID-19 testing pilot in development to help keep Pierce County schools safe
- Oct. 27—We recommend schools resume remote learning.
- Oct. 26—Clarifying our role in the Department of Health's decision tree.
- Oct. 23—Dr. Chen's letter to Superintendent Reykdal.
- Oct. 23—Case rate is firmly within the high COVID-19 activity level.
- Oct. 9—Prepare for remote learning if cases remain high.
- Oct. 1—Case counts trend upward
- Sept. 4—Schools can consider gradual reopening.
- Aug. 28—DOH Decision tree.
- Aug. 11—Requirement to begin school year with remote learning.
- July 24—Recommendation to begin school year with remote learning.
- June 12—OSPI guidance for reopening.
Free Childcare for Healthcare Workers and First Responders
What: The Orting School District will provide childcare for school age children (Kindergarten – Grade 5) for families who are healthcare workers and first responders.
Why: Governor Inslee has directed school districts to provide free childcare services for first responders and healthcare workers so they can continue to help community members who are most in need of medical or emergency care from the impacts of COVID-19.
Who is a First Responder? A first responder is someone who works for the police, fire, or other emergency services.
Who is a Healthcare Worker? A healthcare worker is someone who works for a medical facility (i.e., nursing home, doctor’s office, hospital, rehabilitation center, adult family homes, etc.).
Enrolling Your Child
- Email a completed registration form to Colleen Flanagan at email@example.com
- Attach proof of employment as a First Responder and Health Care Professional
When: March 30, 2020 - April 24, 2020
Time: 9:00am – 3:30pm, M – F, including Spring Break to the extent possible
Where: Ptarmigan Ridge Elementary School
Staff: Paraeducators and Health Services Staff
Meals: Snacks and lunch provided daily
Questions: Email Chris Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org
The District will follow General Guidance from the Washington State Department of Health
Health Screening at Entry
- Health Services staff will take the temperature and check symptoms for staff and children upon entry each with their parents/guardians present each day and ask if medications were used to lower the child’s temperature and if there are any household members with COVID-19.
- A school nurse, LPN and/or health assistant will be on site for at least part of the da
If a child has a temperature over 100.4F they are to go home with their parent/guardian and not participate in childcare.
Social Distancing During Day Care Session
- Group sizes are no larger than 7 people total, including children and adults
- We are maximizing space between people in a group, ensure a minimum of 6 feet between groups.
- We are incorporating social distancing within groups to the degree possible, aiming for at least three to six feet between children and minimizing the amount of time children are in close contact with each
Outdoor play will be in staggered shifts. If multiple groups are outside at the same time, they will have a minimum of six feet of open space between outdoor play areas or visit these areas in shifts so that students are not congregating.
Hygiene Practices During Day Care Sessions
Students will practice be frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and require handwashing upon arriving at the center, when entering the classroom, before meals or snacks, after outside time, after going to the bathroom, and prior to leaving for home.
- If soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60%
- Advise children to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed
- Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available).
- Providing adequate supplies for good hygiene, including clean and functional handwashing stations, soap, paper towels and alcohol-based hand