Reporting Requirements and Communication Plan


Schools play an important role in identifying COVID-19 cases and close contacts and limiting the spread of COVID-19. All cases of COVID-19 and outbreaks in schools must be reported to the local health jurisdiction per Washington State law (WAC 246-101).

In addition, schools and the general public must cooperate with public health authorities in the investigation of cases and outbreaks that may be associated with the school (WAC 246-101).

A COVID-19 outbreak in a school is considered when the following have been met:

  • There are two or more COVID-19 cases among students or staff.
  • The cases have a symptom onset or positive test result within a 14-day period of each other.
  • The cases are epidemiologically linked.
  • The cases do not share a household.
  • The cases are not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during the Investigation.


When a school learns of a student or staff with COVID-19 or an outbreak of COVID-19 on the school premises, the School COVID-19 Coordinator must immediately notify the school district and local health jurisdiction of the school.

A list of local health jurisdiction contacts can be found on the DOH website. Local health jurisdictions use confidential information for public health investigations and do not share confidential information publicly.

Schools must release information about COVID-19 cases to local public health as part of a case or outbreak investigation.

The School COVID-19 Coordinator must also gather information about everyone the student or staff with COVID-19 may have been in close contact with at the school during their infectious period.

The ultimate determination of close contact is made by the local health jurisdiction; they may delegate this determination if appropriate.


Schools play an important role and have certain obligations in identifying close contacts and communicating with staff. Schools have a response and communication plan in place that includes communication with staff, families, their school district, and their local health jurisdiction. Schools, in partnership with nurses and the Department of Health, are prepared for instructing students and their families who are excluded from school due to illness or quarantine in accordance with all federal and state laws.

As employers, schools are required to inform staff who may have been exposed to COVID-19 about the potential exposure while maintaining confidentiality of the person who tested positive, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An employer is required to provide written notice to all employees, and the employers of subcontracted employees, who were on the premises at the same worksite as the person with COVID-19 that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.