Return To School Planning
With the start of the 2021-22 school year approaching, Richland School District is building the road to reopen schools safely in the midst of continuing challenges posed by COVID-19 in our community.
- COVID-19 Protocols & Requirements
- COVID-19 Symptoms, Definitions & Quarantining Flowchart
- Testing Resources & Opportunities
- Vaccination Resources & Opportunities
- Road to Recovery
- State & Federal Requirements/Recommendations
- Archived Documents
- Full-time in-person learning available to all students
- Face coverings in all indoor spaces and in crowded settings outdoors*
- COVID-19 vaccination for all school and district staff**
Additional COVID-19 Mitigation Protocols
- Physical distancing of three (3) feet or more in classrooms and six (6) feet or more in situations where face coverings cannot be worn to the greatest extent possible and reasonable
- Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing routines
- Enhanced building ventilation and air filtration
- Emphasis on regular handwashing and good hygiene practices
- Mandatory COVID-19 testing for specific high-risk sports and voluntary COVID-19 testing available in schools
- Appropriate PPE for high risk student activities such as vocal and instrumental music or indoor exercise
Details on how RSD is limiting risks from COVID-19 in schools can be found in the Road To Recovery document.
* DOH has laid out limited exceptions to the face covering requirement for individuals with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face-covering. Any child wanting to be considered for a face mask waiver must submit a COVID-19 Face Mask/Cloth Face Covering Waiver Request to their child’s school. Students will be required to wear a cloth face covering or clear face shield with a drape in schools and on school buses until a requested waiver is granted.
**Staff must either verify their COVID-19 vaccination or request a medical or religious accommodation.
REMINDER: Please keep your child home if they are sick. This includes: an earache or severe headache; a fever of 100 degrees or more; a sore throat or swollen glands; a persistent cough or runny nose; skin rash or sores; inflammation of the eyes; nausea, vomiting or other stomach flu symptoms; painful swelling of any kind or another communicable disease. Per the Washington State Department of Health, students who are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (also listed below) must stay home for at least 10 full days unless they are tested for COVID-19 (either rapid antigen or PCR conducted by a healthcare provider) and their result is negative OR they have an alternative diagnosis from a healthcare provider that explains all symptoms. Their symptoms also must have subsided and their temperature has been normal for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication. School health room staff may contact parents to pick up their children if they display any of these symptoms at school independent of concerns of being positive for COVID-19.
COVID-19 Symptoms (not related to another condition)
- Fever (100.4 or higher)
- Sore throat
- Muscle/body aches
- Runny nose
- Diarrhea (2 or more loose stools in 24 hours)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of taste or smell
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Close Contact: In general, a close contact is anyone within six (6) feet of a person with COVID-19 for 15 cumulative minutes or more over a 24 hour period during the time when the person with COVID-19 was infectious (2 days prior to symptom onset or test collection date and 10 days after). Close contacts who have tested positive within the previous 90 days are excluded from quarantine. In a K-12 classroom setting, students who are at least three (3) feet away from an infected student when both students were wearing masks/face coverings are not considered close contacts.
- Infectious Period: An individual is considered infectious for two days prior to symptom onset or test collection date (if no symptoms) and 10 days after symptom onset or test collection date.
- Alternative Diagnosis: Lab-confirmed diagnosis, such as strep throat or viral pathogen. Can also include childhood rash illness, acute otis media, etc. COVID-19 test still strongly recommended in addition to alternative diagnosis. Diagnosis of a cold or allergies without a negative test result is not considered an acceptable alternative diagnosis.
- Fully Vaccinated: Individuals are considered fully vaccinated if at least two weeks have passed since their final dose (two doses for Pfizer and Moderna, one dose for Johnson & Johnson).
RSD Schools have COVID-19 tests available for students. These will be the BinaxNOW rapid test, which provides results in 15 minutes, is self-administered and painless. Students will use a Q-tip-like swab and swirl it around the inside of each nostril. A school staff member will watch to ensure proper technique. The swab is then placed in a small tester, reagent applied, and results will be read in 15 minutes.
Testing is voluntary and tests will not be administered on students without prior parent/guardian notification and proper consent from the parent or legal guardians. To help facilitate the testing, families will receive a copy of the COVID-19 Testing Consent Form either sent home with their student in the first days of school or as part of parent connect conferences, so it can be returned to the school if the parents want their student to be tested if needed. Completed consent forms will be kept in the health room. Consent will be valid for the 2021-22 school year and can be revoked at any time.
If a student is feeling ill at school and has COVID-19-like symptoms, health staff will verify the student has written consent on file and make efforts to contact families before administering a rapid test. If a student does not have a written consent on file, a parent will be contacted to ask if they would still like to have their child tested. If yes, two school staff members must witness the verbal consent before the test is administered.
Participating in COVID-19 testing at school may allow a student to stay in school rather than go home. Currently, unvaccinated students identified as close contacts must quarantine at home. Richland School District has initiated steps to begin a test-to-stay protocol that will allow students identified as close contacts in school exposure situations to attend school as long as they do not develop symptoms. In addition to monitoring symptoms, students will be tested to ensure they are not a carrier. Test-to-stay will not be available to students who are a close contact to someone with COVID-19 outside of school.
Regardless of test result, students who have a temperature greater than 100 degrees or severe COVID-like symptoms will need to go home and follow current guidance before returning.
School nurses and health aides are available to help families determine if their children are well enough to come to school.
Most commercial pharmacies such as Rite-Aid and Walgreens and those located in retailers such as Safeway/Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Walmart and Costco offer COVID-19 vaccinations at no charge. You can find information about vaccination events through the Benton-Franklin Health District website.
The district will share other vaccination opportunities in the community or hosted at schools as they are scheduled.
District and school leaders, with input from staff and the community, developed Our Road To Recovery to help students and families return to school. This plan includes additional and enhanced services to address learning loss, mitigate potential inequities facing students and their families and training for staff on how to connect and support students who may be struggling.