4% of Seattle students & staff test positive in 2-day mass testing effort

SEATTLE — On Tuesday, Seattle Public Schools said 588 people tested positive for COVID-19 during a 2-day stretch of district-wide testing.

In total, SPS says they administered 14,021 tests. Of those, roughly 4% of those came back positive.

A spokesperson for the district supplied KIRO 7 with the results on Tuesday evening.

Those who tested positive were sent home to isolate for 10 days, according to the SPS release.

The district said testing is encouraged but not required to return from school.

“Test results are collected and reported to public health,” said Beverly Redmond, assistant superintendent for public affairs.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we look to our local and state public health agencies for their counsel and guidance as our leaders carry out school operations. This allows SPS to focus on providing students with a high-quality learning experience in safe and welcoming schools.”

SPS said they will continue to offer testing at each school this week with parental approval. Students may also access a test at one of the district’s regional testing sites:

  • South Shore PreK-8, Monday through Friday, 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Meany Middle School, Wednesday through Friday, 5 to 8 p.m.

This comes as COVID cases are on the rise statewide and nationwide.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children represent 17.7% of COVID-19 cases nationwide.

Public schools in other states are considering and implementing a return to virtual learning.

On Tuesday, Chris Reykdal, Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction pledged to keep classrooms open for in-person learning statewide.

“There is no closure coming from the State or my office. We don’t anticipate anything coming from the Governor’s office. So, we’re going to school and we’re going to do it with our great protocols,” Reykdal said in an interview with KIRO7 on Tuesday.

This comes as COVID cases statewide continue to rise, attributed to the Omicron variant.

The WA Department of Health released its latest case-count totals with more than 10,000 confirmed cases on Dec. 30. That number dropped to 6,037 on Jan. 2.

On Tuesday, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that children represent 17.7% of all COVID cases nationwide.

“Thank God there is a huge decoupling between cases and hospitalizations – so this remains a very low risk for students, especially if they’re vaccinated,” Reykdal said.

Reykdal said while he doesn’t expect a statewide ordinance to cancel in-person learning, he said a handful of schools across the state have implemented virtual learning this week due to the spike in cases.

He said that local health officers may continue to advise schools to temporarily switch to virtual learning should they experience an outbreak.

On Tuesday, Seattle middle schools postponed their winter basketball season due to COVID concerns.

“The growth in number of cases triggered a DOH required increase in testing for participants, coaches, and team personnel. SPS will explore options for rescheduling the seasons and intends to resume these activities when we can fully comply with DOH requirements,” a spokesperson told KIRO7 on Tuesday.