Updated COVID Information from OSPI:
Effective immediately: In support of our goal to support in-person learning and in order to maximize constrained COVID testing supplies for symptomatic students and staff as well as close contacts participating in Test-to-Stay or returning from quarantine, DOH is changing the testing frequency for high-contact sports.
Schools/districts will now be required to:
- Test high-contact sport athletes the day of competition only and exclude those who test positive. Testing of asymptomatic athletes three times a week is no longer required. By way of reminder, a student-athlete does not need to test if they have tested positive and recovered from COVID in the last 90 days.
- Ensure universal masking of all athletes during all practices/training for these high-risk sports. Coaches, trainers, and staff will not be required to be tested but MUST wear masks in all practices/training AND competitions.
This is a welcomed shift in guidance for many, but it is imperative that schools stay focused on continuing mask wearing, distancing where possible, and supporting vaccinations and getting boosted during this time of extremely high community transmission. Vaccination offers the strongest protection against severe disease, including the need for hospitalization when break through cases occur.
This Omicron experience is evolving. Cases are peaking in some parts of our state, and still rapidly rising in others. However, the biggest concern in our state right now is that hospitals across the state – east, west, urban, and rural – are operating near, at, or above capacity. What might be a mild illness for a student-athlete could be serious or even life threatening if transmitted to a child or adult with chronic conditions. The health care system is so stressed there are impacts to health that go beyond COVID-19. Washingtonians currently are unable to have important but scheduled medical procedures. Continuing mitigation measures can help protect the most vulnerable in our community, protect our healthcare system, and keep our schools open and safer for all.