Revised Quarantine Requirements

Summary: New quarantine requirements will begin Monday, November 1.

Quarantine Requirements for Unvaccinated Students and Staff who are Exposed to COVID-19

Seattle Public Schools has consistently followed the guidance of Washington State Department of Health (DOH) in our response to the pandemic. By doing so, we have been able to successfully keep schools open and provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff. DOH has published new requirements regarding student and staff quarantine.

Seattle Public Schools will begin implementing components of the new quarantine requirements on Monday, November 1.

Requirements as of November 1

In alignment with the new requirements, an individual that has been exposed to COVID-19 and is unvaccinated may end their quarantine seven (7) full days after exposure if no symptoms have developed and after receiving and providing a negative test result to the school.

A rapid antigen or PCR test needs to occur on or after day five (5) post-exposure.

Families will be asked to continue to monitor their child for symptoms until day 14.

Communication to Affected Families

Direct district communications will be sent to affected families and students and will include information on resources for testing.

COVID-19 Testing

The district is actively working with our health partners to make rapid antigen testing more readily available. In the meantime, families may take advantage of school-based PCR testing by making an appointment with their school.

We are grateful to DOH for recognizing the significant affect that required quarantine has on student learning and addressing in its policy revisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will this information be communicated to families with students that are currently quarantined?

Any family with a student quarantined from October 19 through October 29 will be informed that the new policy applies. The district’s central contract tracing and notification team will begin contacting families on October 29.

When is a negative student COVID test needed for a return to school?

  • If an unvaccinated student is a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
    • The student can end their quarantine seven (7) full days after exposure if no symptoms have developed and after receiving and providing a negative test result to the school.
    • A rapid antigen or PCR test needs to occur on or after day five (5) post exposure.
    • Families will be asked to continue to monitor their child for symptoms until day 14.
  • If a fully vaccinated student is a close contact (or they have tested positive in the past three months) and they have COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Students can return to school after a negative test result for COVID-19, no fever in the past 24 hours (without medication), and symptoms have improved significantly.
  • If a student has one or more of these symptoms that lasts longer than 24 hours AND they aren’t a close contact – headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, congestion or runny nose.
    • Students can return to school after a negative test result for COVID-19, no fever in the past 24 hours (without medication), and symptoms have improved significantly.
  • If a student has any of these symptoms AND they aren’t a close contact – fever greater than 100.4 or chills, muscle or body aches, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, cough (new, changed, or worsening).
    • Students can return to school after a negative test result for COVID-19, no fever in the past 24 hours (without medication), and symptoms have improved significantly.

What are options for submitting a negative COVID test?

A negative test result can be emailed or brought to the front office. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test may include the original, a copy, or a photo of a document.

What type of test is accepted?

A home test is not accepted. Negative test results may come from school testing programs, a health care provider, local health jurisdiction, pharmacy, or other community-based test site.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test includes the original, a copy, or a photo of a document or other communication from the test provider or laboratory that shows:

  1. The first and last names of the individual tested.
  2. The type of test performed
  3. The date the specimen was collected (must be on or after day 5 post exposure)
  4. A negative result

How will a student’s negative COVID-19 test be recorded?

The test results and date the test was taken will be recorded in the student’s attendance record.

What if an individual or student chooses not to test or does not get tested? 

Quarantine should last for 10 days after the last close contact without additional testing required. However, if any COVID-19 symptoms develop during the 10 days, the student should remain in quarantine and get tested. Families need to continue monitoring for symptoms until day 14. In certain circumstances, a longer quarantine may be warranted.

You may also be interested in

Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan
SPS is now eligible to receive Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds, which is part of the American Recovery Plan.
Responding to Cases or Symptoms
Learn about what to do if your student has COVID symptoms or has been a close contact to someone who has had COVID.
Safe Travel Plans
As we approach a season of school breaks and family gatherings, it is a good time to remind everyone about travel guidance. …