Seattle Public Schools shortens COVID-19 isolation period for staff

SEATTLE — Staff at Seattle Public Schools who test positive for COVID-19 will now have to isolate for five days rather than ten, before returning to the classroom.

The decision was made by the school district on Monday. Administrators are also discussing the possibility of shortening the isolation period for students, and expect to make a decision this week.

Currently, students who receive a positive COVID-19 test result can return to school ten days from when symptoms began, if it has been at least 24 hours since a fever has resolved and their symptoms have significantly improved.

The district says they continue to make in-person learning a priority, but are closely monitoring community transmission rates, staffing totals and student attendance, among other factors, to inform their decision regarding a possible transition to remote learning.

On Wednesday, the district made the decision to switch from in-person learning to remote learning for Aki Kurose Middle and South Shore PK-8 schools due to COVID-19.

Remote learning is expected to last for six school days, with a return to in-person learning to begin on Jan. 24.

In-person and remote learning were also canceled for Cleveland High School on Thursday, Jan. 13 due to staffing and student attendance projections, officials said.

The district had canceled classes on Jan. 3 to offer voluntary COVID-19 testing for students and staff. A total of 14,021 students and staff were tested, and about 4% received positive results, according to SPS.

SPS requires all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.