Submitted by Lewis County Public Health & Social Services
Washington State officials have created two tools to help school administrators make decisions around resuming extra-curricular activities in K-12 schools. They are an online COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard and a School Decision Tree that together offer guidance based on real-time data.
The dashboard at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/covid-19-risk-assessment-dashboard quantifies the level of community COVID-19 spread. It includes key metrics that were developed for five risk assessment areas:
- COVID-19 activity;
- healthcare system readiness;
- case investigations and contact tracing; and
- the protection of populations at higher risk.
The metric goals are targets recommended by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), not hardline measures. Each contributes to reducing the risk of disease transmission through community spread.
The DOH School Decision Tree breaks down its recommendations based on low, moderate or high community spread identified by the COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard. The decision tree recommendations are meant to provide an informed platform for discussions between school administrators and public health officials.
Decision tree recommendations for extra-curricular activities include:
- Schools in counties with low COVID-19 activity may consider in-person, low-risk extracurricular activities.
- Schools in counties with moderate or high COVID-19 activity should cancel or postpone in-person extracurricular activities.
Lewis County is currently categorized as a high-activity county due to having more than 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population over the past 14 days. A moderate level is between 25 and 75 cases per 100,000 over 14 days. Low activity is less than 25.
Lewis County Public Health & Social Services Director J.P. Anderson said, “These are the hard decisions facing every school district right now. As the entire community works to reduce COVID-19 transmissions, our risks go down and our ability to resume sports and extracurricular activities increases. COVID-19 is one tough opponent, but when we all do our part, we’re tougher.”
In addition, DOH has a call center to answer questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211.