TL;DR – Washington is expanding COVID-19 testing resources for school districts around the state.

Washington State COVID-19 Status Report, February 16, 2021

Washington state to expand COVID-19 testing program, adding 50 school districts, Inslee says

Washington is expanding COVID-19 testing resources for school districts around the state, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday.

An additional 50 K-12 school districts have signed up for the voluntary program to boost testing as a way to help get students back to in-person learning, Inslee said in a news conference.

“And we hope these numbers will grow,” he said.

Thirteen Washington school districts are piloting the coronavirus testing on school grounds. The 50 districts will begin similar testing programs this month.

“It’s a way to help build confidence,” Inslee said, noting that testing is not necessary to reopen schools but offers another safety layer for schools that are already required to implement a host of other measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

The Institute for Disease Modeling has released modeling data that suggests testing doesn’t offer any added benefit when schools are following those safety protocols with fidelity.

On that front, Inslee said the state is also helping schools develop “a playbook” in how to reopen with health and safety guidance. That includes “universal masking” and guidelines for social-distancing and proper ventilation.

“Now we have been armed with something very powerful, and that is knowledge and experience that we did not have a year ago,” said the governor.

Inslee said that Washington’s school reopening guidance largely fits with new guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week.

That federal guidance suggests that schools can reopen safely and before all teachers are vaccinated as long as they follow a list of safety requirements — a point that Inslee reiterated Tuesday.

Washington’s coronavirus vaccine rollout puts older teachers and school staff in line for vaccination this month. School employees under age 50 are expected to be eligible later this spring.

COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers

On January 5, Governor Inslee announced the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan, which lays out the process to safely reopen Washington state. The plan includes guidance for certain businesses and industries to help protect Washingtonians and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The full Healthy Washington phased chart is available here.

Important Reference Documents

Healthy Washington Requirements

The following business activities must adhere to the occupancy and operation requirements outlined for their region’s Healthy Washington phase:

Professional Services

Personal Services

Eating and Drinking Establishments

Sports, Recreation and Fitness

Indoor Entertainment Establishments

Outdoor Entertainment Establishments​

All employers must follow COVID-19 prevention protocols for employees as required by the Department of Labor and Industries. Industry-specific workplace requirements are listed below:

Additional Industry Requirements​

Source: Brynn Brady