Earlier this week the Department of Health issued an updated Guidance related to key mitigation strategies that take effect on Monday March 14, 2022. The updated guidance regarding COVID guidelines are linked to the latest HSD COVID-19 Update.
It is beginning to become clear that we are transitioning from a pandemic situation to an endemic situation where we need to learn to live with COVID-19. We will continue to follow best practices in our district regarding ventilation, sanitation, and hygiene to promote optimal health for everyone. Prescribed physical distancing, although not required any more, remains a recommendation and best practice when feasible in classrooms and on campus.
HSD will be transitioning to a mask-optional environment in the District (including transportation) except for those staff and students in the health rooms and isolation rooms at our schools. Staff/students wishing to return after day 5 of a confirmed case of COVID-19 without a negative test will be required to wear a mask for days 6-10. The only other situation where masks could be required is if the Grays Harbor Public Health Department were to require it due to a local COVID outbreak.
Because of this new mask-optional environment, we fully expect that some students and staff will choose to continue wearing a mask. We will continue to offer masks at all buildings and work sites for students and staff.
We continue to appreciate the persistence and resilience everyone has shown in adjusting to the many changes we have seen throughout this pandemic. The change to the mask mandate will be welcome news to some who may be relieved and happy that masks are no longer required. At the same time, others may feel anxious and not ready to be without a mask for a variety of reasons that are important to them.
We will continue to offer staff and students daily COVID-19 testing through PMG at the Middle School in the choir room from 7:30am-9:00am and full community testing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3:00pm-7:00pm in the lower Admin Building lobby of the High School. We also have a supply of iHome brand tests that you can request from your building principal or our school nurse to use at home. These tests will be distributed to buildings next week.
We acknowledge and thank all of our students, families, and especially our dedicated staff for the amazing work we have done together during this long haul dealing with COVID-19. It does appear that we are on the home stretch.
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