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April 28, 2021

Health and Safety Update

Updated on May 19, 2021

Vaccinated or Not, Mask Up

Whether you are fully, partially or not vaccinated for COVID-19, state health and safety guidelines have not changed regarding the requirement to wear a mask or face covering while on school district property. Everyone is required to mask up and practice six-foot social distancing (except for students in classrooms who may be spaced a minimum three feet apart if necessary).

All staff are required to wear masks inside and outside on school district property. Students are allowed to remove masks when eating meals and outside when spaced six feet apart.

All school and community user groups athletic event spectators are required to wear masks.

School districts in Washington State are required to follow state Department of Health rules for schools. Districts and schools do not have the authority at the local level to change mask and distancing rules.


Updated on May 14, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available for Ages 12-15, Spectator Face Mask Requirements

Children ages 12 to 15 may now be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Washington. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children 12 to 15 years old under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Previously, only people 16 and older were eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines are authorized only for age 18 and older.

Children age 12 to 15 will still follow the same recommended vaccine schedule of two Pfizer doses spaced at least 21 days or 3 weeks apart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has also announced that COVID-19 vaccines can now be given without regard to timing of administration of other vaccines. People can now get the COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days of other vaccines, including on the same day.

Children are not required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to attend school. If families choose to have their children vaccinated, the COVID-19 vaccination does not need to be scheduled separately from children’s required school vaccinations or other recommended vaccines. 

The Benton County Fairgrounds mass vaccination site administers both first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. To make an appointment at the fairgrounds site, go to https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov.

To find an available vaccine appointment throughout the Tri-Cities, go to vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov. Each provider lists what vaccine options are available at specific locations.

Spectators Required To Wear Masks and Facial Coverings Inside and Outside

A reminder that all spectators of indoor and outdoor school athletics or youth athletic leagues utilizing school district facilities on school district property must wear face masks and facial coverings.

Fully vaccinated individuals are still required to wear masks and facial coverings, in accordance with state guidelines regarding Spectator Event COVID-19 Requirements. 

Source: Washington State Department of Health Spectator Events COVID-19 Requirements (Updated 05/03/2021) 

As changes are made to health and safety guidelines by the Benton-Franklin Health District and the Washington State Department of Health, the district will send out updates.


Updated on May 3, 2021

Shortened Quarantine Options for Close Contacts

Today, we received newly updated guidance from the Benton-Franklin Health (BFHD) regarding quarantine options for students who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

In the letter, BFHD Health Officer Dr. Amy Person states:

“Evidence continues to support that schools are not the primary source of COVID-19 transmission in the community and that there is not sustained transmission in school…Based on the above information, schools in Benton and Franklin counties may follow any of the quarantine options in CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and DOH (Washington State Department of Health) guidance, including shortened quarantine. Fourteen days of quarantine is the safest option, but when that is not possible, shortened quarantine options are available if the student is asymptomatic.

Return to school can occur:

1. After day 10 without testing

2. After day seven with a negative test result (test must occur on day five or later)

Symptom monitoring should continue until 14 days after exposure. If symptoms develop, the student needs to leave school and isolate. COVID-19 testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms or exposure. Students need to wear a mask, adhere to school distancing requirements, wash their hands, avoid crowds and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Read the full letter here

If a student is identified as a close contact when there is a positive COVID-19 case at their school, the school nurse or COVID site coordinator will notify families when the student can return to school. 


Updated on April 28, 2021

Kennewick School District (KSD) continues to keep the safety of our students and staff as a top priority. Now that students have returned to school for five days of in-person learning, we want to ensure that our staff and families have the most up-to-date information about how schools are managing contact tracing and adhering to quarantining and return-to-school guidelines.

KSD must follow the updated guidelines provided by the Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) and the Washington State Department of Health.

Please note that health and safety guidelines are frequently revised and the district will send out updates as they are available.

Masks/Face Coverings

In accordance with state guidelines, students and staff are required to wear face masks/coverings at all times. However, students may remove face coverings to eat and drink, and when 6-foot distancing can be maintained outside. Students may remove masks during PE or recess when 6-foot distancing can be maintained as determined by the school. Fully vaccinated students and staff are still required to wear masks/face coverings, in accordance with state guidelines.

Source: https://bit.ly/3feY5WJ (Page 12)

For sports and athletics teams, schools must follow the state’s sporting/activities guidelines, and guidelines vary by activity. Athletic directors and coaches will follow the guidelines specific to their sport/activity. Spectators must wear masks/face coverings as spectators and at all times while on district property.

Read the full state guidelines here: https://bit.ly/3gIq165

Contact Tracing

When a positive COVID case is identified, schools must report the case to BFHD and identify close contacts. A close contact is defined as someone who has been within 6 feet of a positive COVID case for a cumulative of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period. In a classroom setting, students are seated at least 3 feet apart. Students seated next to a student identified as a positive COVID case are considered close contacts or possible close contacts (see seating chart below). The school nurse and building COVID coordinator will work to identify and notify close contacts.

View the full BFHD document: https://bit.ly/2QH3oUX

graphic illustrating close contacts

Quarantining Requirements/Return to School Guidance

The table below shows the most up-to-date guidelines for quarantining and returning to school for close contacts and positive COVID-19 cases. View the full BFHD Return to School document: English | Spanish

chart explaining return-to-school guidance

Note: To implement in-person, five-day learning, students are seated 3 feet apart in the classroom. The definition of a close contact remains 6 feet.

Vaccinated Students

If students have been fully vaccinated, they are not required to quarantine if they meet all the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated
  • Have not had symptoms since current COVID-19 exposure

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, OR
  • Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If it has been fewer than two weeks since the shot, or if the student still needs to get their second dose, they are NOT fully protected. Students should keep taking all prevention steps until they are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated persons should still watch for symptoms for 14 days after their exposure. They should also continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and keep their social circles small. Persons who do not meet both criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Source: https://bit.ly/3feY5WJ (Pages 16-17)

Students who have tested positive and recovered from COVID-19

Students who have a confirmed/documented positive test for COVID-19 within the past three months and have recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.

Source: https://bit.ly/32VdofA


Updated on April 20, 2021

School Health and Safety Updates

Please review the following school health and safety updates and guidelines prior to sending your child to school for in-person learning on Wednesday, April 21. We appreciate you reviewing these requirements with your child so that everyone is prepared and is aware of the expectations. 

NEW: Classroom Spacing Changes

Due to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Washington State Department of Health, when students return for in-person learning on Wednesday the allowable physical distance between students in classrooms has been reduced from a minimum of 6 feet to 3 feet. However, the distance defining a close contact remains at 6 feet. When eating, in common areas, or participating in physical activities the minimum distance requirement is 6 feet.

Staff must continue to adhere to the 6-foot distancing requirement with all staff and students.

Close Contacts: How This New Guidance May Affect Your Student

Although students are allowed in the classroom 3 feet apart, the guidance regarding close contact identification when there is a positive COVID-19 case remains at 6 feet for a cumulative of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period.

Students who are identified as close contacts may need to quarantine the entire 14 days due to the new 3-foot distancing guidelines. If your student is identified as a close contact, the school nurse will let you know when your child is allowed to return to school. 

Wearing Masks/Face Coverings and Handwashing

Staff will continue to communicate, educate and reinforce properly wearing masks/face coverings and appropriate hygiene, frequent handwashing and social distancing practices. Please reinforce these safety practices with your child.

Reporting Positive COVID-19 Cases

If your student tests positive for COVID-19 and has been on-site at a district facility, notify a school administrator or school nurse right away so that a return-to-school date can be determined. Families participating in remote learning or the KSD Online Learning Academy who do not attend in-person school do not need to report positive COVID-19 cases to the school.

The school district will continue to notify families and staff by email when a positive case of COVID-19 is reported at their school within the past 14 days. Positive cases reported to the school district are reported on the district’s COVID-19 Report Card: https://bit.ly/2Pb77te.

Completing Monthly Health Attestations – Due by May 1 and June 1

Email and text reminders are sent to all families to complete the COVID-19 Monthly Parent/Guardian Verification/Agreement. You may find the form here: https://bit.ly/37kepBD. The form is also available by logging into your PowerSchool account.

Daily Health Screening: Ask These Questions Each Day Your Child Attends In-Person Classes

By sending your child to school, you attest that the answer to every question is NO.

If you can answer YES to any of the questions below, you agree to keep your student at home from school and to contact your student's school immediately for guidance.

1. Is your student awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test due to possible exposure or symptoms?

2. Since your student’s last day of school or visit to a school facility, has your student experienced any of the following COVID-19 symptoms (not related to a pre-existing condition)?:

  • Fever (100.4 or over) or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea (2 or more times in a 24 hour period)

3.  Within the last 14 days, has your student been in close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 or more minutes during a 24-hour period) with anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19?

What Happens if a Student Has COVID-19 Symptoms at School?

If a student is sent to school with any COVID-19 symptoms or develops symptoms while at school, the student will be isolated and monitored for safety, a parent/guardian will be notified to pick up their child, and the family will be notified by the school nurse about when the student may return to school.

Water Bottles

For safety reasons, all drinking fountains in the schools have been disabled at this time. Water bottle filling stations may be used by students where available. Students should bring their own refillable water bottle to school marked with their first and last name. All bottles should have a lid or closure.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

At this time, COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone 16 years old and older. To find an appointment, go to: vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov. If a student or staff member is fully vaccinated, they must still abide by all school health and safety requirements, including wearing a face mask and following safe distancing guidelines. 

Wearing Masks While Picking Up Students from School

Family members who are standing outside of the school on district property to drop off/pick up their child, or who are entering the school to drop off/pick up a child from the YMCA Childcare Program, need to wear a mask or face covering at all times that covers their mouth and nose. If the family members stay inside a vehicle, a mask or face covering is not required.

School Visitors and Volunteers

Due to the concerns about the health and safety of our students and staff, we are continuing to limit visitors and volunteers from classrooms. Families and visitors are welcome to drop items off at the front office or check in/out students when needed. Face masks are required to be worn while on inside school entrances