COVID-19 Updates

May 11, 2023

Federal Public Health Emergency related to COVID-19 has officially ended per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

May 26, 2022

Our community members interested in helping at our schools with end-of-year outdoor celebrations and events may now do so without providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination, per a recent update to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for school workers.

Those interested in volunteering for primarily outdoor functions may contact their neighborhood school about volunteer needs and opportunities and begin the online volunteer registration process.

March 7, 2022

Face coverings will no longer be required in RSD schools or on school buses beginning Saturday, March 12. This change is a result of Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement that the state mask mandate will be lifted that day.

The district offers the following reminders and guidance as our community prepares for this transition.

  • The choice of a student, staff member or visitor whether to wear a face covering will be respected. Those working and learning in or visiting RSD schools and facilities are also asked to respect the choices of others.
  • The district will continue to offer disposable masks to those who request them at schools and district facilities.
  • The district will continue to follow updated safety protocols required by the state Department of Health and Benton-Franklin Health District.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and grace as we move forward.

February 28, 2022

The Washington state mandate on face coverings in schools and on school buses will end on Saturday, March 12 per an announcement today by Gov. Jay Inslee. As a result, all students, staff and others learning and working in or visiting schools and district facilities may choose whether to wear a face covering beginning that day.

The district understands many students, staff and families are eager for this transition to near-normal conditions in schools for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Many others are anxious about these changes and how they may affect their safety. We ask that the entire community show kindness and understanding to all as we move forward together.

January 28, 2022

To all RSD families,

We have two important updates regarding COVID-19 safety efforts in our schools

Changes To Isolation Requirements Following Positive COVID-19 Test Result

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) has updated its COVID-19 safety requirements in regard to isolation following a positive COVID-19 test.

If a student or staff member tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 by a molecular or antigen test, they can return to school when the following criteria are met:

  • 5 days* have passed since symptom onset, or since positive test specimen collection date if no symptoms are present (*note: people who are severely ill or severely immunocompromised may need to isolate for up to 20 days); AND
  • No symptoms are present, or symptoms are resolving; AND
  • No fever within the past 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.

Students and staff should continue monitoring for symptoms and wearing a well-fitting mask around others through day 10 (days 6-10) both in and out of school, including during extracurricular and sports activities.

Individuals who have been in isolation may, but are not required to, test on day 5 of their isolation period, but only if the above criteria for completing isolation have been met. If testing, an antigen test is recommended. If the test result is positive, they must continue to isolate until day 10. If the test result is negative, they may return to school but must continue to wear a well-fitting mask both in and out of school, at home and in the public, including during extracurricular and sports activities, to prevent potentially exposing others through day 10.

Individuals who have accommodations that allow them to attend school and not wear a well-fitting mask or face shield with a drape or wrap must stay in isolation the full 10 days.

View the updated DOH document (the most recent change is found on page 12).

These updated requirements are effective immediately. District staff will update any documents and district or school websites to reflect these changes.

Washington State Board Of Health Survey On COVID-19 Vaccination

The Washington State Board of Health is inviting parents and caregivers of school-age children to complete a survey to provide input that will be shared with a Technical Advisory Group the Board has convened to assess whether to include a COVID-19 vaccine on the list of required vaccinations for school attendance. The survey will close on Feb. 2.

Take The Survey

Tomar La Encuesta

January 26, 2022

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) has made the following updates to COVID-19 precaution requirements for high-contact athletics.

Schools/districts will now be required to:

  • Test high-contact sport athletes the day of competition only and exclude those who test positive. Testing of asymptomatic athletes three times a week is no longer required. By way of reminder, a student-athlete does not need to test if they have tested positive and recovered from COVID in the last 90 days.
  • Ensure universal masking of all athletes during all practices/training for these high-risk sports. Coaches, trainers, and staff will not be required to be tested but MUST wear masks in all practices/training AND competitions.

These changes are effective immediately. District staff will update its guidance documents and websites to match these new requirements.

January 13, 2022

To our RSD families,

COVID-19 continues to impact our community and district leaders are focused on doing everything possible to keep schools safe and keep students engaged in learning.

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) recently updated its COVID-19 requirements and guidance for K-12 schools to align with updated recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). RSD will implement these changes immediately and has begun updating online information and documents to reflect them.

Here is a brief rundown of the most recent changes:

  • Updated isolation, quarantine, and testing recommendations, including but not limited to:
    • Potentially modified isolation period for positive cases to minimum five days. If individual tests negative via a rapid test on Day 5 or later, symptoms have improved and they are fever-free, they may return to school on Day 6. A positive rapid test on Day 6 requires an individual to not return to school until Day 11.
  • Updated masking requirements encouraging well-fitting masks for all individuals inside schools
  • Updated Test-To-Stay guidelines including:
    • Opportunity for individuals determined to be close contacts to participate
    • Opportunity for students who are close contacts from non-school exposure to participate
    • Opportunity for students to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities while following Test-To-Stay protocol

View the full updated DOH guidance document.

District leaders are closely monitoring case rates in our community and positive cases coming into schools. Contingency plans are being developed to ensure students can continue to participate in in-person learning.

Remember: If your child is feeling ill, they need to stay home. If their symptoms are COVID-19-like, testing is available via at-home tests and community testing sites. Notify your child’s school if they test positive for the virus. A list of COVID-19 symptoms, quarantining flowchart and testing and vaccination sites are available via our Return To School Planning webpage.

Thank you for supporting Richland schools.

December 17, 2021

The Washington Department of Health on Dec. 17, 2021 changed some of the health and safety requirements for high contact indoor sports in response to COVID-19 outbreaks tied to wrestling tournaments held earlier this month across the state.

The following measures will be required, effective immediately, for activities connected to basketball, wrestling, water polo and competitive cheer:

  • Required testing of all student-athletes, coaches, trainers and support personnel, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Increased testing frequency of three times per week. Among those screening tests, at least one must occur no sooner than the day before the competition and ideally and whenever possible the day of the event.

Other existing health and safety requirements also remain in place:

  • All spectators at indoor events must wear face coverings and families and households should social distance to the degree possible.
  • All student-athletes, coaches, trainers and support personnel must wear face coverings during indoor events and competitions except when actively competing.
  • Referees must wear face coverings except when actively officiating and running.

We appreciate everyone’s patience as we implement these changes and ensure that student athletic events and competitions may continue.

October 12, 2021

To our RSD community,

We want to update you on the district’s efforts to meet the state’s mandate for all RSD staff to either verify their COVID-19 vaccination or request an accommodation by Oct. 18.

First, we want to assure you that RSD schools will continue to offer full-time in-person instruction. Staffing adjustments may be necessary beginning Oct. 18 in response to any staff who do not comply with the state vaccination mandate. This could include changes to bus routes, substitute teachers or online-supported instruction in classrooms and other strategies. We will notify you of any impacts that may affect your child's school as soon as possible. Our goal is to limit any disruptions and maintain a consistent, safe and engaging learning environment for every student in our schools.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 12, roughly 86 percent of our full-time contracted staff have filed their paperwork to meet the state vaccination mandate. That translates to about 74 percent of full-time staff having verified their vaccination and 11 percent requesting an accommodation for medical or religious reasons. Staff who have received an accommodation are required to take additional measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. While these measures are determined by a staff member’s role and duties, they can include using specified face coverings, additional physical distancing and regular COVID-19 testing.

We value all of our staff members and want them to remain part of the RSD family. Human Resources staff continue to work to help each staff member complete the verification/accommodation process.

September 10, 2021

The district is adjusting its COVID-19 notification protocols and resources to ensure families and staff continue to be notified of COVID-19 activity in schools and district facilities, share important COVID-19-related updates and reduce the possibility of school notifications being missed.

Beginning Monday, Sept. 13, a COVID-19 Update email notification will be sent from the district to the parents/guardians and staff of each school with one or more new positive on-site cases by 4:30 p.m. daily. This message will:

  • link to the COVID-19 Activity Dashboard updated each school day
  • include any student activity or program cancelations resulting from COVID-19 conditions
  • include updates from the state or local officials on COVID-19 safety measures and requirements
  • link to resources for COVID-19 testing, vaccination and more.

Individual schools will continue to send families notifications if their child is determined to be a close contact to a positive case and if their teacher must quarantine as a result of contracting COVID-19 or being a close contact.

Students, families, staff and community members also are encouraged to visit the district’s Return To School Planning webpage to see information about:

  • COVID-19 safety requirements, protocols and procedures in schools
  • details on COVID-19 symptoms, definitions and quarantining decision-making
  • COVID-19 testing and vaccination resources and opportunities
  • the district’s Our Road To Recovery document and more.

August 25, 2021

Schools will still have COVID-19 precautions in place this school year but there will be some modifications from the past. That has led to some questions from students, families, staff and community members about what school will be like this school year. District and school leaders have compiled the most frequently-asked questions so they can provide answers ahead of the first day of school.


July 29, 2021

To the RSD community,

The Richland School Board's goal is to open schools normally for the 2021-22 school year unless specifically prohibited by the state. Recently, the Washington Department of Health (DOH) updated its requirements for all public and private K-12 schools regarding COVID-19.

Governor Jay Inslee has announced that these updated requirements are law and that all public and private K-12 schools in the state must comply with them. Further, state Superintendent Chris Reykdal has stated that "boards or districts that intentionally disobey, dismiss, or shun an explicit law, including a Governor’s executive order, which has the power of law, will see an immediate halt to their basic education apportionment, and their federal funds that come through OSPI."

Many prior requirements have been relaxed, such as those for quarantining and physical distancing, or completely removed, such as the need for daily or weekly health attestations.

State public health officials will require individuals in K-12 schools or on school buses to continue to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings will not be required during outdoor activities at schools, such as recess, physical education, athletic practices and competitions and marching band performances.


These requirements are subject to change based on COVID-19 conditions. Those updates will be shared with the community as soon as possible.

Stay tuned for more information about the start of school and further updates to our COVID-19 protocols and procedures.

Archived Return To School Planning Updates