(Based on the October 25, 2022, DOH “Guidance to Prevent and Respond to COVID-19 in K-12 Schools and Child Cares”)
As part of the Cascade Christian Schools and larger Pierce County communities, we have chosen to follow the required protocols mandated by the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department in its newest guidelines. Everyone’s safety is a top priority, as is keeping as many students in in-person learning as possible. The details below will help you understand what these protocols are.
Decisions for all CCS protocols and programs will be made by the superintendent in conjunction with the CCS COVID-19 Oversight Team.
All campuses will continue to have a lead to oversee these protocols and procedures. This person will connect directly with the building administrator, and the district health coordinator as needed, and will help with connection to the health department as needed.
Appropriate signage will be placed around the building, including in hallways, offices, restrooms, and classrooms. These will include reminders about social distancing, handwashing, COVID symptoms, etc.
Understanding that layers of mitigation practices will be adjusted to reflect the community levels of transmission of COVID-19 and further directions by the local health jurisdictions, Cascade Christian Schools will remain flexible in the following procedures:
All school employees must follow the governor’s vaccination mandate to either be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption.
Masks are no longer required universally in schools, which means students and staff will have the choice to wear a mask. Some may need to wear a mask because they or a member of their household is at high risk for severe COVID-19 disease. Individuals who choose to continue wearing a mask will be supported.
School offices will have a supply of masks and other PPE for staff and students as needed or desired.
Classrooms will continue to utilize good ventilation practices, opening windows when possible and using air filters or portable HEPA air cleaners.
Classrooms will be encouraged to practice physical distancing (spacing of 3 feet or more between students) where possible when COVID-19 levels within the community are high or if the school is experiencing an outbreak per DOH guidelines.
All campuses will continue to encourage frequent handwashing and good respiratory etiquette to prevent the contracting and spreading of infectious diseases. Students and staff will be encouraged to wash or sanitize their hands upon entry into the building, before eating, after restroom use, after sneezing or coughing, and before going home.
It is still important that staff and families be educated on COVID-19 symptoms and what to do to prevent the spread of this virus. While we do not diagnose, we will assume that any sickness is contagious and will follow the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department guidelines for dealing with any sickness. Cascade Christian Schools has a response and communication plan in place that includes communication with staff and families.
If a student is ill, that student should be kept at home. If a student becomes ill at school, the student will be separated and kept isolated from other students until picked up by parents. Areas used by the students will immediately be disinfected. The student will follow the updated quarantine or isolation guidelines as specified by TPCHD before returning to school. If a student has tested positive for COVID-19, we will work closely with TPCHD for continued guidance on contact tracing and disinfecting procedures.
Close Contact is someone who was exposed to a COVID-19 case, generally defined by the CDC and DOH as someone who was within 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for 15 cumulative minutes or more over a 24-hour period of time during the case’s infectious period.
Quarantine is when someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 stays home and away from others for the recommended period of time in case they were infected and are contagious. Quarantine for COVID-19 is no longer required for most exposures if certain conditions are met. We will determine quarantine on a case-by-case basis.
Isolation is when someone who has COVID-19 symptoms, or has tested positive, stays home and away from others (including household members) to avoid spreading their disease. We will determine the time frame of isolation and communicate that to parents and the school office.
COVID-19 Symptoms – Initial common symptoms can include the following:
Cascade Christian Schools will continue to report positive cases to TPCHD, as required in the guidelines. We are not required to report close contacts to the health department.
If a positive case happens within the school, our COVID-19 Case Rate Chart will be updated to reflect any new cases traced to our campuses. Our case rate chart will list the positive cases for each campus/grade, as required by TPCHD. Staff will be informed of any close contact exposures, as required by L&I.
Cascade Christian Schools is required to report and cooperate with public health authorities in the investigation of cases, clusters, and outbreaks that may be associated with the school. In some cases, we will be required to report to L&I if a certain number of staff are considered to be part of the outbreak.
If a school-related outbreak occurs, Cascade Christian Schools may be required to implement mitigations strategies as directed by the health department to prevent disease transmission for a period of time.
Each campus must have a back-up plan in the event that a faculty or staff member contracts COVID-19 or is quarantined because of exposure. Keeping a robust substitute list will be critically important during this time.
If a faculty or staff member's absence is COVID-19 related, the employee needs to connect with HR to understand the process for using sick leave or alternative leave. HR will work with the campus administrator to understand the required absence. It is also important that the employee connects with the administrator for any absence, so that a substitute is able to be secured if needed.