It’s that time of year again. As much as we want to get caught up in the Seattle summer, with its breezy outdoor fun, fall is almost here. Back-to-school means rain jackets, backpacks and kids spending more time indoors. As we see almost every year, children can easily spread germs like the common cold, influenza, and COVID-19 because respiratory viruses spread easily indoors.
As parents, we want our children to be safe and happy at school. We can send our children to school with a bigger mind, knowing that we are protecting our children and others as best we can. This year’s back-to-school COVID-19 prevention guidance can also help reduce transmission of other common respiratory viruses like influenza.
Worrying about our children getting COVID-19 while at school is no fun. And unfortunately, COVID-19 isn’t going away. That’s why it’s so important to continue wearing masks, make sure your family stays up-to-date on vaccinations, and stay home away from work and school and others for 5 days or more when you or your children feel sick. .
Here are some things you should know about this year’s back-to-school COVID-19 requirements and safety guidance:
Immunizations are required on the first day of the 2022-03 school year
K-12 students in Washington state must be up to date on required immunizations for school on or before the first day. That is whether they will attend classes in person or remotely. Along with a pencil and notebook, vaccines like Tdap, DTap, MMR, hepatitis B, varicella and polio should be on your child’s back-to-school list. There are also the COVID-19, HPV, and meningococcal vaccines your child needs to stay healthy and happy.
Free Immunization Clinics in King County
At our free immunization programs in King County, healthcare professionals will be on hand to answer your questions and provide needed immunizations. You do not need proof of insurance or immigration status. Just bring your child, their vaccination records if you have them, and a book or toy to occupy them while you wait.
The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect your child from long-term symptoms or severe illness from COVID
Many children have not completed the first series of COVID-19 vaccines. Some of these are due to vaccine hesitancy, misinformation, or other barriers. It can help to know that vaccines for children are safe and well-tested. Pediatrician Dr. Ben Danielson and UW Medicine’s Dr. For Helen Stankiewicz, Dr. Somali Health Board. Ahmed Ali and Dr. Othello Pharmacy. Trusted healthcare professionals, like Iman Younis, agree that vaccinating your children is the best way to protect them. And can protect the community from serious diseases. They answer common questions from parents in a series of videos, such as why this vaccine is safe for children. Ben’s question.
Make an appointment with your pediatrician, pharmacy, or healthcare provider
To update your teens, tweens, babies and toddlers on COVID-19 vaccinations, visit your child’s pediatrician or health care provider or check our Vaccination Locations page. COVID-19 vaccines are the best protection for everyone against hospitalization and serious illness from COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children 6 months and older. Booster doses are also available for children 5 years and older.
Schools and childcare may require you to wear a mask
Be sure to pack a mask that fits snugly in your child’s backpack. And thank you for respecting people’s choice to continue wearing masks. Wearing high-quality masks is an important tool to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
People who are immunocompromised, unvaccinated, or feeling sick should wear masks to protect themselves and others in indoor public places such as schools. Preschool and childcare ages 2-4 are encouraged to wear masks with adult supervision. Babies and toddlers under 2 should never wear a mask.
What to do if you or your child tests positive for COVID-19
Being sick means at least 5 missed days of school and work, which can be especially difficult for parents who can’t afford to miss days or don’t have access to childcare. But it’s also important to stay healthy for your family and prevent the spread of COVID to others. If you or your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home to protect others, even if you don’t have test results yet. If you need food or other assistance while in isolation, please call the state’s COVID-19 information hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #1.
Parents and children who test positive for COVID-19 are required to stay home and self-isolate for at least 5 days.
Note: You will have to stay at home for those 5 days, even if you test again and test negative during that time.
- If your test comes back negative in 5 days you can return to work and school.
- If your test is positive, isolate for another 5 days.
- Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days and around people at high risk of COVID-19 for 11 days.
- When students and children return from 5 days of isolation, they should wear a well-fitting mask for 6 to 10 days.
- If possible, students should be tested before returning to school.
Learn how to perform a COVID-19 self-test for yourself or your child in the video below and remember to stock up on free COVID-19 self-tests.
Don’t risk children bringing home COVID-19 with their homework
Protecting the health of our children also protects the school community, especially the most vulnerable such as immunocompromised teachers and classmates, and older adults such as grandparents. We know it’s not easy to keep up with the changed guidance, but your efforts are important as we head back to school. Thanks for all you do!
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine for children and teens, visit kingcounty.gov/vaccine/youth.
Originally posted on August 23, 2022.