COVID-19 Response Protocol

COVID-19 Response Protocol


The following is information about our process for communicating about cases of COVID-19 at schools in our district. This plan was developed collaboratively with Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) to create consistency and prioritize student and staff safety.


Confirmed Case

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, PHSS will notify a designated district and school contact with a confirmed diagnosis. Our district also notifies PHSS when we become aware of a positive COVID-19 case or outbreak among students or staff. At the school level, PHSS will communicate this medical information only with the school nurse or identified school contact to protect the individual’s privacy. If a staff member tests positive, it is the employee’s responsibility to notify their supervisor. Our district and schools will not share the names of individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The school nurse or identified school contact will work with PHSS to provide the information they need to conduct contact tracing. This investigation will help PHSS determine who was in close contact with this person. “Close contact” means less than 6 feet apart, with or without a face covering, for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

PHSS or the school nurse will contact only those who are considered close contacts and provide next steps. If you do not receive a phone call from PHSS or the school nurse, then your child does not meet the close contact criteria. No further action is needed. Your child may continue with in-person instruction. Because PHSS or the school nurse will contact those who are affected — and to protect individual privacy — our schools will not contact families about a single confirmed COVID-19 case.

Our custodial staff will thoroughly clean and sanitize the affected area based on COVID-19 exposure cleaning protocols. Please remind your child of the following health tips:


  • Remember to follow physical distancing protocols.
  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth.
  • Clean your hands often. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a school-approved hand sanitizer. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Do not come to school when you are sick.


Confirmed Outbreak

Washington State Department of Health defines an “outbreak” as two or more students or staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19, are linked through a shared location such as a classroom or school bus, do not share a household, and did not have significant contact outside of the school grounds.

If PHSS notifies us of a COVID-19 outbreak, the school will contact only the families of students and staff from the affected shared location. We will suspend in-person instruction for students in this specific shared location and shift to remote instruction.

PHSS has created a detailed PHSS COVID-19 flowchart specific for schools regarding communication and actions. The flowchart is also available in Spanish and Vietnamese on the PHSS website. Olympia School District protocols are also outlined in the OSD COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan 5.0.  Additional resources for families in English and Spanish are also posted on the PHSS website.