Washington State COVID-19 Status Report: May 20, 2021
School testing program will now include funding for screening tests.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), in conjunction with Health Commons Project, is making it easier for schools across the state to do both diagnostic testing and screening testing for COVID-19.
New funding will allow districts and schools the option to add screening tests to their COVID-19 testing strategy if they choose. Until now, most districts and schools opted to focus on just diagnostic testing for students and staff with symptoms or exposures to people suspected of having COVID-19. Adding an option for screening tests can improve a school’s ability to further prevent disease spread where in-person learning is happening. This kind of testing can help schools head off potential outbreaks before they occur, and it can be a useful tool for students participating in athletics or other extracurricular programs.
To support school districts in building out on-site testing, the newly expanded “Learn to Return” playbook offers a range of COVID-19 testing options districts can choose from. When a school district enrolls in the Learn to Return program, they are assigned a testing strategist who works with the district to design a tailored COVID-19 testing program that fits its unique needs. The program is voluntary, flexible and free. As always, decisions about when and how to expand in-person learning are up to each school district, working with their local health jurisdictions.
“Expanding COVID testing in schools with the Learn to Return program will help schools expand in-person learning in the Fall,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “The pandemic is not over, but this is another tool, along with more vaccinations, that will help to keep students and educators healthy and keep schools open.”
“Giving schools this option for screening testing at no cost is a huge win,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “We all want to get as many students back into classrooms as soon as possible, and this successful testing program will increase our ability to confidently and effectively do that.”
The statewide schools testing program started as a pilot with 13 school districts. The program has expanded to over 100 school districts serving more than 550,000 students across the state.
A federal grant from the CDC and administered by DOH will cover a range of costs related to COVID-19 screening for districts that choose to participate in the expansion.
COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers
On March 11, 2021, Governor Inslee announced the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan will be transitioning from a regional approach to a county-by-county evaluation process.
The full Healthy Washington phased chart is available here.
Important Reference Documents
- County Phase Status
- County Phase Metrics(“Roadmap to Recovery”)
- Outdoor and Open-air Structureswith FAQ (Updated April 12)
- Facial Coverings Guidance for Businesses
- Voluntary Contact Information
- High Risk Worker Proclamation FAQ(Updated May 3)
Healthy Washington Requirements
The following business activities must adhere to the occupancy and operation requirements outlined for their region’s Healthy Washington phase:
- Spectator Events– Updated May 13
Religious and Faith-Based Organizations
- Religious and Faith-Based Organizations– Updated May 13
- Professional Services– Updated March 19
- Personal Services– Updated March 19
Eating and Drinking Establishments
- Eating and Drinking Establishments– Updated March 17
Weddings, Funerals and Events
- Weddings, Funerals and Events– Updated May 13
Sports, Recreation and Fitness
- Fitness and Training– Updated March 26
- Outdoor Recreation– Updated March 23
- Water Recreation– Updated March 23
- Sporting Activities– Updated May 19
- Sporting Activities FAQ– Updated March 24
- Racing: non-motorized and motorized– Updated April 19
- Golf– Updated March 18
Indoor Entertainment Establishments
- Indoor Entertainment– Updated March 24
- Bowling– Updated March 18
- Card Rooms– Updated March 18
- Movie Theaters– Updated March 19
- Museums– Updated March 19
Outdoor Entertainment Establishments
All employers must follow COVID-19 prevention protocols for employees as required by the Department of Labor and Industries. Industry-specific workplace requirements are listed below:
Additional Industry Requirements
- Agricultural Industry– Updated May 7
- Agricultural Industry Safety Plan Interpretive Guidance– Updated May 7
- Agricultural Events– Updated March 19
- Agritourism– Updated March 19
- Car Washes
- Construction– Updated April 21
- Cruises– Updated May 13
- Domestic Services
- Fairs and Special Events– Updated April 26
- In Store Retail– Updated March 17
- Libraries– Updated May 19
- Miscellaneous Venues– Updated May 19
- Motion Picture Industry
- Outdoor Maintenance/Landscaping
- Pet Grooming
- Professional Photography– Updated March 19
- Real Estate– Updated March 17
- Theater and Performing Arts– Updated April 21
- Vehicle and Vessel Sales
- Workforce Education Programs
For additional industry-specific safety practices, including those for Farm and Agricultural Workers, Food Workers and Establishments, schools, healthcare providers, and others, please visit the Department of Health’s Resources and Recommendations Page.
Brynn Brady, Ceiba Consulting | Martin Flynn Public Affairs, Inc. | 253.686.3387