Seattle School District plans to share COVID-19 data by school

SEATTLE — The Seattle School District posts the latest COVID-19 case data online each Monday. Until now, it has been grouped by region, without identifying school locations. On Thursday, the district said that is going to change.

On Thursday, Dr. Carrie Nicholson, the Interim Director of Health Policy, Practices and Procedures, said that would change.

“Right now we’re going to shift more towards school level, we want to be transparent with our families and our communities so they know,” said Dr. Nicholson.

Seattle Public Schools started last Wednesday. Three days later, by Friday, there were 44 COVID-19 cases district-wide. According to district data, 41 are students, 3 are staff members.

Dr. Nicholson said many of the cases involve children who never came to campus, but instead parents contacted the district to report a positive COVID test. When KIRO7 asked how many other students and staff members were close contacts and had to be quarantined, the district didn’t have that information available and stressed it was likely community transmission, leading up to the start of school.

“There might be some cases in there, but really it’s a reflection of the transmission in the community and the testing of positive during the first week of school,” said Nicholson.

KIRO-7 spoke to parents in west Seattle as they picked up their children from Lafayette Elementary School.

Kristin Relyea has twins in the second grade and a first-grader.

“It still all feels very known. At this point, I think more information is always better than less. I would really appreciate more specific information to the extent they can share, that would be helpful,” said Relyea.

Dr. Peter Barkett is a pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente. When asked about 44 cases in Seattle schools already this year, he stressed the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think this is a perfect moment to take a pause and make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and protect our communities,” said Dr. Barkett.