Last updated: February 28, 2022
Current Testing Service Availability: Student and staff testing only at this time
Open Monday-Thursday 6:45 AM - 9:00 AM (no afternoon hours)
All family and community testing has been suspended due to low quantities of testing supplies.
March 10, 2022
Dear HSD Families,
A few days ago, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released new health guidelines for schools across the state to follow as we move into a new phase of the COVID pandemic. This new guidance aligns with national CDC guidance and comes at a time when we are seeing dramatic declines in COVID cases across our region, state and nation. According to Clark Public Health, the county’s:
14-day COVID infection rate is 135.3/100k and the 7-day infection rate is 87.4/100k;
7-day rate of hospital admissions related to COVID is 5.6/100k;
Percentage of hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID is 12.6%.
Whie the updated guidance reduces the scope of safety requirements, it is important that everyone understands that DOH requirements and recommendations remain in effect after masks become optional in schools beginning Monday, March 14. It is also important to know that restrictions such as mandatory face coverings could return if an area’s health metrics (listed above) take a turn for the worse.
So, let’s all stay healthy this spring!
Here is a summary of some of the major changes in DOH guidance:
A number of current COVID prevention measures, including masking, are now optional…
Beginning Saturday, March 12, students and staff will have the choice to wear a mask at school or on school buses with the expectation that others’ choices will be respected. If students or staff members experience bullying for their mask-wearing choice (no mask or mask), they should immediately report the incident to their building administrator.
Hockinson schools, administrators, teachers and staff will not be responsible for enforcing parent or home mask-wearing decisions (e.g. If a student opts not to wear a mask at school, a teacher will not enforce a parent’s expectation that a student wear a mask.)
Mask are required by all students, staff, and visitors aged 2 years and older in a school’s nurse/health and isolation rooms as these are considered health care settings.
Hockinson Schools will continue to adhere to COVID mitigation measures (ventilation, hand hygiene, and physical distancing when possible) to keep students and staff as healthy as possible.
Isolation and testing will continue; screenings will not…
Staff and students who have COVID-like symptoms must continue to isolate at home.
To verify whether symptoms are due to a COVID infection, our district’s COVID testing service will remain open Mon-Fri from 6:45-9:00 am.
Screening testing for extracurricular activities is discontinued until further notice.
Notifications are required…
Families will be notified if their student has been potentially exposed to a positive COVID case. Similarly, staff will also receive a notification of potential exposure.
Someone who is exposed may continue to take part in all in-person instruction and care, including sports, performing arts, and other extracurricular activities, as long as they are not symptomatic
In the event of a positive COVID-19 case…
A student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to isolate at home, regardless of vaccination status.
The individual may return to school and activities after 5 full days of isolation (day 0 is the date of symptom onset or the date when the positive test was conducted) if:
Their symptoms have resolved, AND
They are without a fever for the past 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications, AND
Test negative with an antigen test any day after Day 5
A slide presentation of key DOH changes is available HERE. A more detailed list of mitigation measures is available HERE.
As I have expressed in previous COVID updates, I appreciate everyone’s cooperation with the changes in school safety requirements over the past two years. It has been difficult. The good news is that our schools have remained open for in-person learning this year and our students are able to participate in clubs, sports, and other school activities. I am excited by the prospect of our students and staff having a more normal - still safe, but more normal - school experience beginning Monday and into the coming months. Staying safe will require ongoing adjustments and communication so you can expect additional updates throughout the spring.
February 11, 2022
Our COVID Testing hours of operation for the Week of February 14 (Mon-Fri) will remain:
6:45 AM - 9 AM - Student, Staff and School Volunteers only
9 AM - 10 AM - Community member testing
February 3, 2022
Starting Monday February 7, 2022 the new Covid testing hours will be as follows:
6:45 AM - 9 AM - Student, Staff and School Volunteers only
9 AM - 10 AM - Community member testing
February 2, 2022
The Omicron surge created a lot of complications in our homes and schools this past month. Although our county's COVID case rate reached a record level at the end of January, it appears that infections are waning in Hockinson Schools. For students, we saw a rapid increase in positive cases the Week of Jan. 3, a plateau during the Weeks of Jan. 10 and 17, and a slow decline the Week of Jan. 24. This week's counts are roughly 25% of where they were during the plateau. Compared to student absences, staff absences have stayed lower and relatively consistent. They increased during the Week of Jan. 10 and 17 and appear to be slowly tapering off in recent days.
Although there are signs that the number of Omicron cases are slowing down in our schools, the Clark County Health Department reports that 96% of beds in the intensive care units in area hospitals remain occupied. To protect the health of our staff, students, and neighbors, we are remaining vigilant in our schools and continue to adhere to the mitigation practices of hand hygiene, physical distancing, face coverings, and improved ventilation. At the same time, we are hopeful that case rates drop this spring to the point where our state modifies its requirements and districts can begin to revisit the need for these precautions.
On behalf of the HSD School Board, I want to acknowledge how challenging it has been for everyone and thank our families and staff for their efforts to maintain in-person learning throughout January.
I also want our families to know that our COVID testing service remains available only to staff and students due to the low supply of COVID testing supplies available in our state. Our testing service will expand to include parents and Hockinson community members as soon as we begin to receive a larger and more reliable supply of tests. We anticipate that this could be as early as the Week of February 14...maybe sooner. We will keep you posted.
One final COVID testing update: Last week, the Washington Department of Health revised its requirements for testing Winter Sport athletes. Instead of testing three times a week, athletes are now tested on the day of their contest. We do not anticipate another change to this requirement before the season ends. Unlike Winter Sports, Spring Sports are not considered high-contact/high-risk, so at this time we do not expect spring athletes will have to test to participate.
Take care, everyone -
January 24, 2022
The HSD COVID testing service will operate Monday - Thursday this week from 6:45 am to 9:00 am for HSD students, staff, and student-athletes only. Testing will be closed on Friday (1/28).
January 20, 2022
The HSD COVID testing service is operating in the mornings from 6:45 am to 9:00 am for HSD students, staff, and student-athletes only. We expect to have enough supplies to continue this mode through the end of next week.
January 18, 2022
The HSD COVID testing service will operate this week (Tuesday - Friday) from 6:45 am to 9:00 am for HSD students, staff, and student-athletes only. Three notes:
- The good news is that Educational Service District 112 arranged for a pick up of COVID tests at the state warehouse over the weekend and HSD secured a portion of its order yesterday.
- The bad news is that we do not have enough tests to offer testing for our families and community. We will expand testing as soon as we receive additional tests and have more stability in our supply chain.
- We are unable to offer our afternoon testing service this week. We will keep you updated on whether this will resume the week of Jan. 24.
January 17, 2022
HSD has received more testing supplies and expects to have enough kits to operate the testing service for students and staff for the rest of the week (mornings only, 6:45 am - 9:00 am). Family and community testing remains suspended.
January 14, 2022
Testing will be closed Monday (1/17) and will re-open Tuesday (1/18) from 6:45 am to 9:00 am. Availability for Wednesday-Friday (1/19 - 1/21) is dependent upon testing supplies and will be announced as soon as a determination can be made.
January 11, 2022
We are scaling back our testing service. We will only be giving COVID tests to HSD staff members and HSD students during the morning testing window (6:45 - 9:00 am). Our afternoon testing service will be closed. We will resume normal testing hours as soon as we receive additional testing supplies. Though not an ideal alternative, families can get a COVID test at GS Labs GS (12601 SE 2nd Cir, Vancouver, WA 98684) by appointment from 7 am - 6 pm. Here is a link to the GS Labs website.
January 10, 2022
Covid-19 testing program returns to its normal operating hours:
Monday - Friday 6:45 AM - 9 AM
Monday - Thursday 4 PM - 6 PM (PM hours suspended as of 1/11/21)
Testing is for staff, students and their immediate family (parents/siblings).
January 7, 2022
Dear HSD Community:
We are experiencing a very high number of COVID cases and other illnesses within our school district and a major increase in COVID infections in our community. Currently, over 400 students and staff are absent from school due to illness or quarantine.
While it is our strong preference to maintain in-person learning, if we continue to experience such high absence rates, we must explore the possibility of other short-term options including:
implementing new health protocols (e.g., expanded testing),
shifting to a different learning format (hybrid learning or fully remote learning) or a
short-term closure of school (much like a closure we would experience during severe weather).
Currently, there is no specific number of cases that would trigger a school district closure. Moving forward, our plan of action is to:
Continue to consistently implement school health and safety protocols
Closely monitor data including student and staff attendance as well as positivity rates
Trace confirmed cases to determine if disease transmission is occurring within schools
Communicate any changes to current schedules or learning modes with families
Please note, any decision about a temporary change to schedule or learning mode will apply to all three Hockinson schools.
This situation is evolving very quickly, and we will continue to communicate with staff and families as we learn more. We expect to receive new K-12 school health guidance in the days ahead. These updates will be shared out to families via email and posted on our district website, www.hocksd.org.
We understand that any change carries with it potential complications for students, staff and families. You can expect to receive additional updates in the coming days. In the meantime, we appreciate your continued patience as we respond to increasing cases of illness and work to keep our families and staff safe.
January 5, 2022
Good evening. I am writing to you with updates on several important subjects:
COVID monitoring update;
Contingency planning related the recent COVID surge;
Clarification on school health protocols;
Suspension of community COVID testing.
Additional details can be found below. I apologize for the length of this message, but want to be sure we are communicating with you about information that you need to know to keep your students and families healthy.
COVID Monitoring Update
As you have likely seen on the news, we are seeing a dramatic increase in COVID cases in our school and community.
We want to remind families that we maintain a Dashboard tracking COVID activity in HSD schools.
Below is a summary of data from our COVID testing service since we resumed testing on Sunday, January 2:
We are seeing a 20% positivity rate at our drive thru testing site. This percentage is reduced by the testing that is required for some of our staff and all of our student-athletes.
COVID Surge Contingency Planning
We continue to monitor COVID cases and field parent inquiries about if schools will close or shift to an alternate learning format. There is no pre-set threshold for closing classrooms or schools and no decisions have been made at this time. The HSD is committed to in-person learning. However, we are also committed to the health and safety of our staff, students, and community, which is why we are tracking student attendance rates and exploring several options, including modified safety protocols, a temporary shift to hybrid or remote learning, or a short-term emergency closure, similar to how we might approach a severe weather event. Again, no decisions have been made at this time and should anything change we will notify families via an email update, providing as much advance notice as possible.
Clarification on School Health & Safety Guidelines
As you know, health and safety guidance is constantly changing and it can be difficult to determine which guidance is the most current and correct. Separate guidance exists for schools and for the general public. This past weekend, unfortunately, general public guidance was confused with school guidance. This resulted in more stringent health guidelines meant for the general public (not schools) being shared with HSD families. We apologize for this confusion. Because we are expecting updates to the school-specific guidance from the state Department of Health in the coming days and due to the surge in positive COVID cases locally, we will continue to follow the more stringent guidelines, which require students exhibiting any symptom consistent with COVID-19 to isolate at home and get a negative COVID test before returning to school.
Suspension of Community COVID testing
As you can tell by the above table, we have had an overwhelming response to our free COVID testing service, so much so that we are running low on tests. Because we are giving priority to our students, staff, and the testing required for our student-athletes, we are suspending community testing until further notice. We will reinstate community testing as soon as we receive additional COVID testing supplies.
This means that effective tomorrow (January 6) we will only be testing HSD staff, students, and the student’s direct family members, if needed. We are defining direct family members as those who currently reside with the student(s).
New Student & Staff Testing Hours through Friday, January 7:
6:45 - 9:00 a.m.
2:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Thank you for your continued patience. This is a very challenging time full of constant change for all of us. We are doing our best to navigate obstacles and communicate with you in real time as much as possible.
January 3, 2022
Today, we welcomed back our students to in-person learning. It was great to see our students back on campus despite a couple of reopening and communication issues that I wanted to be sure were followed up on tonight.
First, a few of our buses were slowed this morning by adverse road conditions and others were impacted by a car accident (the accident did not involve a bus). This resulted in unanticipated delays with morning pick ups. We contacted FirstStudent Student Transportation to ensure that all families not on the FirstView app receive timely notifications even in surprising circumstances like these.
Second, we have seen a significant increase in symptomatic students and COVID infections. Yesterday, our testing service recorded more than twice the number of positive cases in one day than we saw in the previous two months combined. I attended a meeting with Clark County Superintendents and Clark County Public Health this afternoon and Dr. Alan Melnick, health officer for Clark County, shared that the county is experiencing a similar spike in COVID infections.
All three of our schools redoubled their COVID safety protocols today, including:
Maintaining 6' of distance staff-to-staff and staff-to-students and 3' between students whenever possible.
Pausing group work, group projects, or partner work through the end of 1st Semester, when we will re-evaluate our circumstances.
Monitoring our students’ health. Students exhibiting cold/flu/COVID symptoms will be asked to check in with the school nurse for a health evaluation. If COVID is suspected, students will be asked to get tested at our drive-thru testing service, which has extended hours through Friday, Jan. 7:
6:45 - 9:00 am and Noon - 6 pm
Requiring that students wear a mask correctly throughout the school day and practice good hygiene.
Adherence to state testing requirements for middle and high school winter sports athletes.
Recognizing that learning at school benefits our students in countless ways, Hockinson Schools are committed to maintaining in-person learning. Staying in-person is going to require a team effort from schools and our families. Hockinson Schools will continue to implement the above mitigation strategies, but the most effective way to keep our students and staff healthy is for our students and staff who are symptomatic to stay home.
I apologize that this past weekend a change in our health protocols was communicated via Facebook and our website, but not directly to staff nor parents via email. This has been addressed and families can expect to receive emails via SchoolMessenger moving forward. Our principals and I will do our best to keep you updated in the days ahead.
Hockinson School District