MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Seattle schools to relax physical distancing requirements for students, staff

Apr 21, 2022, 8:40 AM

Seattle school vaccine mandate, closures...

(Seattle Public Schools, Facebook)

(Seattle Public Schools, Facebook)

Seattle Public Schools will soon begin relaxing its physical distancing requirements for all facilities and buildings.

Washington schools begin shift to mask-optional approach for students

This move comes as part of guidance from the Washington Department of Health. Up until now, students and staff had been required to maintain three feet of physical distancing in classrooms, down from the six feet that had initially been required in the early days of the return to in-person instruction. Seattle schools also sought to maintain distancing during lunch and recess whenever possible, requiring six feet in common spaces and hallways.

Starting on April 25, those requirements will no longer be in place, as the district pivots to an approach centered more around testing and isolation for positive cases. Schools will also continue to maintain upgraded air ventilation systems for indoor spaces.

Moving forward, SPS will look to conduct testing of students in groups and classrooms, cited as “an important tool for responding to an increase of COVID cases or suspected outbreaks.”

“This type of testing allows us to get a clear picture of spread in a classroom or student group and is an additional step we can take to keep our classrooms safe and students learning in-person,” the district said in an updated posted to its website this week.

Seattle students plan Monday walkout over lifting of mask mandate in schools

That testing will be done with the consent of parents, who can opt into the program at this link.

Masks remain optional in school settings as well, while the state Board of Health voted this month to not add the COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccines for students.

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