Dieringer District News

January 12, 2022

Educating every child for confidence today and contribution tomorrow.

The Dieringer School District will provide all students with appropriate high-quality programs in a safe, challenging and inclusive school environment. This mission will be undertaken with respect for and in partnership with families and the community.

New Washington State Department of Health Guidance for K-12 Schools

The state recently released new guidance for K-12 Schools that aligns with new requirements released in December by the CDC. Below are the main points and the full document is available at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/820-105-K12Schools2021-2022.pdf. Over the next few days and into next week we will transition to these new timelines and protocols. Our COVID Team and Test to Stay team will be working to make necessary changes in that same time window.

New DOH Guidance

  • Isolation periods have changed
    • Students and staff who test positive can return to school after 5 full days since developing symptoms or if tested positive and no symptoms develop. They must:
      • Be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications and have an improvement in symptoms.
      • Wear a well-fitting mask around others through day 10. (Masks are still required at all times in school buildings.)
      • Produce a negative test result or take a rapid antigen test at school after day 5.
      • Students may return to school on the 6th day and are allowed to remain in school with a negative test.
    • If still positive, they must continue to isolate through day 10.
  • Quarantine requirements have also changed
    • Students or staff who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for at least 5 full days after their last close contact if they:
      • Are 18 or older and completed the primary series of vaccines but haven’t received a recommended booster shot when eligible.
      • Received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) more than 2 months ago and haven’t received a recommended booster shot.
      • Aren’t vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.
    • They don’t need to quarantine if they:
      • Are 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.
      • Are 5-17 years old and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
      • Had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days.
    • If students or staff need to quarantine, they have 3 options:
      • Test to Stay (if the school offers this program). Students and staff should test twice in the 5 days after exposure, wear a well-fitting mask around others through day 10 and monitor for symptoms.
      • Quarantine at home for 5 days and test no sooner than day 5. You must provide documentation of a negative test to the school. You must wear a well-fitting mask around others through day 10 and monitor for symptoms.
      • Quarantine at home for 10 days with no test. In certain circumstances, you may need a 14-day quarantine.
  • Test to Stay
    • Test to Stay is now inclusive of all staff and students, regardless of where exposure occurred.
    • Staff that have not received the recommended booster and are identified as a close contact will need to participate in Test to Stay.
    • Students in Test to Stay can now participate in extracurricular activities but should still treat the rest of their day as a traditional quarantine and avoid public places.
  • Contact Tracing
    • Locations for contact tracing in schools have been sorted into two new categories of high and low priority
    • High Priority:
      • Locations where multiple students and/or staff are present for sustained periods of time, AND/OR
      • There is likelihood of close contact or inconsistent or no mask wearing
      • Examples include:
        • Bus rides/routes
        • Indoor classrooms where students do not consistently distance or wear masks (e.g., younger children, those with a mask exemption, etc.)
        • Health room
        • Indoor breakrooms and workrooms (staff only)
        • Indoor or outdoor school-affiliated activities, especially those that are aerosol-generating (sports, performing arts, cheer, speech/debate, etc.) that take place before, during, or after school
    • Low Priority
      • Locations where students can consistently distance and are wearing masks
      • Locations where students and/or staff are present briefly or transitioning through
      • Outdoor locations
      • Examples include:
        • Indoor classrooms where ALL students were wearing masks
        • Outdoor classrooms
        • Indoor meal locations
        • Hallways/stairwells and other locations used during transitions periods
        • Restrooms
        • Any outdoor activities or locations (classrooms, meals, PE, etc.) except for aerosol-generating activities (sports, performing arts, cheer, speech/debate, etc.)
    • We will continue to contact trace in all areas, to the degree possible, but when resources are stretched we will follow the above guidance and examples to prioritize contact tracing.

Possible Switch to Remote Learning

  • We have received a handful of questions about when or if Dieringer might pause in-person learning and switch to remote learning. We are making plans to switch if such a move is needed.
  • Currently our plan is to stick with in-person instruction.
  • Dr. Chen at the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department has advised we stay the course for now. This was after considering our absence rate here in Dieringer and current case rates in Pierce County.
  • According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction if we were to switch to remote instruction it can be in response to staffing issues or as a result of community spread of COVID. The health department can also close a classroom or school in the event of an outbreak. Considering all three options, we are just not there yet. If we were to make the switch to remote learning in any other scenario, we would lose funding from the state for our students.

Thank you,

Dieringer School District

January & February School Board Meetings

Meeting schedule, public comment, and minutes information can be found on the website.

  • Monday, January 31st : Regular Board Meeting
  • Friday February 4th : Special Board Meeting - Board Retreat
  • Monday, February 28th : Regular Board Meeting
School Board Meetings