The Kent School District announced on Friday (Mar. 11) its updated COVID/mask policy, which goes into effect March 12, 2022.

The revised policy says that masks are “optional and welcome but not required, except in health and isolation rooms per DOH requirements.”

These revised policies are based on new requirements and guidance from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) for K-12 schools to support controlling COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of exposure in educational and childcare settings.

School Districts – including KSD – are required to continue to adhere to the requirements in section one of the new document. Additionally, districts may choose to put more protective strategies in place, which must also be followed.

“The DOH requirements and the additional mitigation strategies KSD has chosen to continue to require, effective March 12, 2022, will continue to support the health and safety of students and staff,” the district said. “As the data continues to change, we will continue to review our practices and adjust our strategies accordingly in alignment with public health guidance.”

“Thank you for your continued flexibility as we navigate this pandemic together,” Interim Superintendent Israel Vela said in a statement. “For your convenience, we have summarized the key areas of focus and the required COVID-19 safety mitigation strategies that remain to support health and safety in our schools below. The complete guidance is available now on our website. We will continue communicating with you as the response to the pandemic continues to evolve, and guidance from public health continues to change.”

Here’s a video about the changes from Interim Superintendent Vela:

Here’s more info from KSD:

Please keep reading the COVID safety news and updates through our school and district communication channels as the response to the pandemic continues to evolve and guidance from public health continues to change.

Key areas of focus for the new guidance in effect March 12, 2022:

    • The new guidance is lifting one mitigating factor (masks) that was in place to control and minimize the spread of COVID-19.
    • Other mitigating factors are still in place; some have been modified and need to be applied so that our community can remain at a low transmission rate level that will allow us to continue to remove interventions and progress toward “normal” community activity levels.
    • If your student is immunocompromised, medically fragile, or otherwise at high risk for severe infection, please contact your school nurse to ensure that if your student is exposed to COVID-19, you will receive direct notification of the exposure.
    • As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change, please be prepared for guidance to continue to change. As soon as we are notified of changes or modify our strategies, we will get that information out to you.

Summary of COVID-19 Safety Strategies in KSD Effective March 12, 2022:

    • Masks are optional and welcome but are not required in Kent School District buildings or on buses for all students, staff, visitors, and volunteers, except in the health room and isolation room per department of health requirements.
    • Students, children, and staff who are immunocompromised, medically fragile, and/or otherwise at high risk for severe disease should consult their health care provider about whether or not to continue wearing well-fitted masks.
    • Anyone who chooses to wear a mask in KSD will not be required to remove it. We expect kindness and acceptance for individual mask-wearing decisions and will not tolerate bullying or harassment.
    • Masks will continue to be available in buildings and buses, including higher-level PPE for staff aligned with L&I guidance.
    • Students and staff need to stay home when sick.
    • Students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 are required to isolate, and can return to school or care following the options within the guidance.
    • Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for at least 5 days and can return to school or work on day 6 if symptoms have improved, or they are asymptomatic, and are without a fever for the past 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and either wear a well-fitting mask or receive a negative antigen test.
    • KSD will continue to maximize physical distancing, encourage frequent hand washing, and ensure daily cleaning and disinfecting are aligned to public health guidance.
    • KSD contract tracers will continue to support all schools, following updated guidance from DOH.
    • If an outbreak or local surge of COVID occurs, public health may direct a classroom, school, or district to follow higher-level mitigation strategies.
    • When a positive case is identified in the classroom or on a KSD sports team, families will be notified. Staff will continue to be notified of positive case exposure.
    • The KSD COVID Dashboard will be updated on Tuesdays and Fridays.

“Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we navigate the changing requirements together. Please remember, this is an ever-changing situation, and guidance can change, and we need to remain flexible.

“We will get through this by working together to support a healthy, safe, and successful school year.”

Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...