Dear Thurston County Superintendents and Heads of Schools,
I am writing to inform you about the COVID-19 guidance from the Washington State Department of Health for the 2021-2022 school year. The guidance is based on what has been learned about COVID-19 transmission over the past year and the impact of school on the health and well-being of students. The delta variant is a much more transmissible strain than previous variants and can spread rapidly.
Following mitigation measures outlined by the Washington State Department of Health and getting tested for COVID-19 is more important now than ever before to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools. These mitigation measures include:
Masking indoors, staying home when sick and when instructed, getting tested for COVID-19 when recommended and required, and maintaining distance are essential to reducing the risk of transmission in our schools.
We are currently experiencing unprecedented community transmission in Thurston County. When there are cases in our community there is an increased risk of transmission in our schools. Each of us in Thurston County can do our part to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our schools by taking precautions, getting vaccinated when eligible, wearing masks indoors when around non-household members and crowded outdoor settings, avoiding large gatherings, and maintaining distance between ourselves and non-household members when possible. This is a dynamic situation and as we learn more, the guidance and best practices may change. I look forward to working with you as the year progresses.
Thank you all so much for your efforts to mitigate risk of COVID-19 in our schools.
Dimyana Abdelmalek, MD, MPH
Health Officer, Thurston County
The above was provided on Aug. 31, 2021 by Thurston County.
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