The Washington State Department of Health, in conjunction with the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has recently published new COVID-19 guidelines for school staff & students for the 2022-2023 school year. The recommendations are for K-12 schools, child care, and connected extracurricular activities. A few changes have been made to account for newer, more immune-evasive variants, recognizing that COVID-19 will remain with us for the next school year. You can see the new flowchart here.
Notable highlights in the new advice include:
1) Covid testing prior to school-attendance even with just one symptom,
2) Mask-wearing on days 6-10 after returning from isolation, and
3) Most importantly, the value of re-testing with home antigen tests every 24-48 hours for up to 5 days after a negative test when symptoms are present, or after an exposure. The sensitivity of home antigen tests is far greater with 2 or 3 negative tests within a 5 day-period than with just 1 negative test.
As always, the message continues to be the same: keep children healthy, in school, and up to date with their vaccinations.