Washington

Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021

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To learn more about Washington’s school testing plans, visit their websiteexternal icon. Camps serving K–12 aged students that are interested in testing can submit requests online pdf icon[PDF – 2 pages]external icon.

Management structure for school screening

Washington Department of Health (DOH) funds the ‘Learn to Return’ project for the state. The grant funds a menu of testing vendors for schools to choose from, as well as Health Commons, who are the DOH’s implementation partners. While Health Commons provides strategic planning and subject matter expertise to schools to implement ‘Learn To Return’, DOH develops the statewide school testing strategy and corresponding implementation support. It also provides clinical guidance for school districts regarding school testing, such as layered strategies for COVID-19 safety protocols in schools. DOH coordinates with external stakeholders (e.g., Governor’s Office, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Educational Service Districts) and supporting external communications regarding school testing.

Support provided to school districts

DOH works closely with Health Commons on implementing the ‘Learn To Return’ program in school districts. The program supports screening testing to detect, prevent, and control COVID-19 in schools. DOH engages clinical staff to provide guidance on testing protocols and other mitigation strategies to keep students safe based on current transmission trends, CDC guidance, and best practices learned from other states. DOH supports the development of the ‘Learn To Return’ Newsletters, which provide program updates such as updated K-12 guidance from DOH, reporting requirements, and tools for school-based testing. In addition, DOH maintains the ‘Learn to Return’ Playbook, which thoroughly outlines evidence-based guidance on how to reopen safely, mitigation planning to reduce transmission, implementation of COVID-19 screening and diagnostic testing at schools, and monitoring and decision-making tools. DOH will be updating their statewide COVID-19 dashboard to include cases and other metrics by school-age groups to help inform schools in their reopening plans.