CORONAVIRUS: Seattle Public Schools’ first case-numbers update of the school year

Last night in our weekly pandemic update, we noted that Seattle Public Schools planned to start updating a “dashboard” this week with COVID-19 case numbers. Despite the holiday, the district posted the first round of data today. The data is shown by region, not individual schools. It shows the Southwest region – West Seattle and South Park – with 12 cases, 10 students and 2 staffers. That’s more than a third of the 36 cases reported districtwide after three days of the school year. Though the dashboard totals are not broken down by school, we know at least one of the schools affected is Chief Sealth International High School, which had to cancel its Friday night football game. District protocols say families will be notified of any positive cases in their child’s classroom. The dashboard, meantime, is scheduled for weekly updates, on Mondays.

33 Replies to "CORONAVIRUS: Seattle Public Schools' first case-numbers update of the school year"

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy September 6, 2021 (8:56 pm)

    How are these cases known?  Are they screening everyone at school? Is it self reported only?  Confirmed with PCR test? Or just rapid screen tests?  I didn’t follow this in the past. It may have been explained then.

    • High Point September 6, 2021 (9:56 pm)

      My child’s principal and nurse never made this clear. There is on sight testing, but it’s an opt in test, or at least that’s my understanding. Definitely not screening anyone. My take away feeling was that numbers will be severely underreported, especially if they are only counting positive testing on campus. My assumption is that these numbers are going to be the number of students/staff who are in quarantine due to a positive test either because of exposure or symptoms.  More clarity on this would be great. 

      • WSB September 6, 2021 (10:02 pm)

        I can’t find the full criteria on the SPS site so will followup. Here’s information on the voluntary at-school testing:

        • High Point September 6, 2021 (10:49 pm)

          Thanks for the link and looking forward to any follow up with this.There was a typo in my previous comment. I meant to say “definitely not screening EVERYONE”

      • AM September 7, 2021 (12:13 am)

        The school nurse at one of my kid’s schools said that testing is available if they have symptoms and parental consent. She also recommended getting tested elsewhere if possible instead, because apparently the results will take a lot longer with SPS testing. 

  • WSHS62 September 6, 2021 (10:03 pm)

    What is the student/staff population of the Southwest District?  What are the student/staff numbers for the district as a whole?

    • WSB September 6, 2021 (10:47 pm)

      The student #’s are on the dashboard page (linked multiple times above). Currently 9,421 students in the SW region.

  • anonyme September 7, 2021 (6:56 am)

    There should not be a single person on campus, whether student, staff, or parent, who is not vaccinated.  The fact that this was not required before school started is insane.

    • JTM September 7, 2021 (1:58 pm)

      So no children under age 12 should attend school? Is that your position?

      • Brian September 7, 2021 (4:28 pm)

        Just have under 12s do virtual again 

        • GHParent September 7, 2021 (5:53 pm)

          I wish that virtual was an option! Even the hybrid model makes more sense until kids are vaxxed. 

          • JTM September 7, 2021 (7:02 pm)

            Virtual is an option this year! It was absolute garbage for a lot of folks (teaching a kindergartener to read by staring at an iPad for three hours a day was not a great look), but very positive for some.

          • dorothy September 7, 2021 (8:28 pm)

            SPS has a virtual school (queen anne) for 300 elementary  students, so when they say they have a virtual option it’s total BS. The last info from the district was a list of out of district options that you could unenroll from SPS and send your kid elsewhere. 

        • Peter September 7, 2021 (9:43 pm)

          Many students under 12 – like our child – do not perform well academically in remote learning and also experience a number of mental health issues. We are very happy to send our child back to in-person learning this fall with the appropriate safety protocols. 

          • GHParent September 8, 2021 (9:28 am)

            There should have been a REAL option for virtual or hybrid learning for those families who wanted to opt in. This would have made kids at the school safer too as there would have been less people in the buildings. And they actually removed many of the protocols that kept kids safer last year. Testing is opt-in so we just wait for people to show symptoms. There’s no daily attestations, parents had to petition our school leadership for outdoor lunch, no more cohort groupings, the kids are sitting 1 foot away from each other in their classrooms, etc. Staying hopeful but also pretty frustrated. 

          • MercyMoi September 8, 2021 (8:23 pm)

            I’m upset they did away with attestations, in particular! It was a useful way to keep symptoms at the forefront of parents’ minds each morning. “Signing” the attestations also put more responsibility on parents to be truthful, and to think about what they were doing before sending in their child. Attestations are not foolproof, and I don’t believe all parents read the attestations carefully every morning, but the symptoms were listed and I think they were important for parents to see and acknowledge. As an educator I want more safety precautions in place.

  • GHParent September 7, 2021 (7:59 am)

    If the investigative team at our beloved blog can’t find the info you know parents are completely in the dark. SPS has been intentionally vague. So has our elementary school. 

    • Teacher September 7, 2021 (9:48 pm)

      The staff at the  elementary school probably did not get the information from the  district.  That is usually how things work in SPS.  Communication  is very poor in this district between the district and the school staff.

  • SLJ September 7, 2021 (8:08 am)

    All SPS schools should have optional testing available, but there has been some confusion about it if the school nurse isn’t there. But they are using Curative, which is sent to California and takes a few days. The city testing site across from Sealth is much faster. The positive case numbers are the ones the school knows about, so the actual number is likely higher.

  • Robin Faletogo September 7, 2021 (9:49 am)

    I’m pulling my daughter out of her school today as I just read this.

  • wseattlebob September 7, 2021 (11:21 am)

    The mere fact that West Seattle accounts for so much positive tests is telling. Put on your mask and stop taking a lax approach to your child’s welfare. For those of you who have been pining to drop your kid off at the school for the last year, should be extra vigilant. I witnessed several parents at my sons school not wearing masks as they walked their kid to line up before heading in to start the day.  Positive cases continue to rise across the city, please show the respect to both the teachers, staff, and students who have waited to return back to in person classes, by putting on your masks and maintain you social distances. The pod only works if everyone does their part. 

    • trickycoolj September 7, 2021 (11:49 am)

      It’s not just West Seattle. The number of unmasked kids under 12 at the Husky game and packed Green Day concert this weekend was alarming. Good luck to all the parents of littles in the coming weeks. I really hope my N95 was effective. 

  • elarem September 7, 2021 (1:21 pm)

    I’m a teacher and I just confirmed with our nurse there the only testing being done on site is for symptomatic students or staff. I know a lot of my colleagues want regular screenings even though we’re vaccinated, but that’s not currently an option. Most other developed countries offer free, in-home screening kits but I guess we really haven’t learned anything over the last 18 months. 

  • WSB September 7, 2021 (3:30 pm)

    Here’s how SPS spokesperson Tim Robinson replied to my question about where the case numbers come from:

    The source of confirmed case information in the Data Dashboard comes in through a variety of ways which include:

    Self-reported, staff and family
    Public Health – Seattle & King County
    Curative test results (new diagnostic testing implemented for 21-22SY)

    (The latter refers to the at-school voluntary tests.)

  • PSPS September 7, 2021 (4:49 pm)

    It’s really shocking that there’s any debate about this at this late stage. “Voluntary testing?” “Opt out?” So many still pretending things have changed, or that we have to “understand” and “improve messaging” to “win over” the MAGA crowd.

    Today’s news has a joint report from the Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics which tracks all cases at the state level.

    “251,781 child COVID-19 cases were reported the past week from 8/26/21-9/2/21”

    Yeah, sure. Just get a test if you don’t feel well or are otherwise inclined to do so. No pressure or mandate! And heaven help any school board meeting that dares float the idea of masks!

  • Bandana September 7, 2021 (5:40 pm)

    Today King County reported 1,946 positive tests after the 3 day weekend.

  • Get vaccinated 25% in 98126 and 98146 September 7, 2021 (7:01 pm)

    1in 4 people age12 and up are unvaccinated in 98126 and 98146. We need more in our area who are eligible to get vaccinated (it is free at all the pharmacies in our area). This will help if more were vaccinated to protect those who cant get the vaccine. 

  • Angry Worried Parent September 7, 2021 (9:02 pm)

    They’re also packing kids into classrooms 1-2ft apart. Doing lunch indoors 50+ kids at a time and also only 2 feet apart. Anyone catch the photo West Seattle High School shared on their social last week? Freshman class packed into the gym bleachers all for a photo opp. Seattle Public Schools couldn’t be handling this worse. 

    • Parent September 16, 2021 (5:40 am)

      In an account from a Jr at WSH, student reported in an academic class of 30 plus students there were 3 chairs in the room and no desks to be found. He also shared that they were using the theater dressing room as a fully operating classroom ie no proper ventilation and space for a full class of students. Who is checking on these issues? No answers when directly contacted. Student/family  has made several attempts to contact admin about issues with no replies. 

  • Local teacher September 8, 2021 (5:35 am)

    I’m not sure how effective reporting these numbers is, if the report comes out a week later? There are active cases at other WS schools (I teach at one and was notified we have a confirmed case yesterday, though they wouldn’t tell us which class and/or student, only the grade band they’re in.) It’s disheartening and very scary with the class sizes we have and the protocols being so lackluster. 

  • West Seattle mom September 8, 2021 (10:04 am)

    This dashboard does not provide much useful info to me. Positive COVID cases from community spread may not necessarily lead to a COVID outbreak in a classroom/school. What I am looking for is the number of outbreaks at schools (listing the schools and regions affected) and the number of cases from each outbreak, similar to King County’s COVID outbreaks dashboard. Outbreak definitions:Childcares; including early learning programs, home childcare centers, and school-based childcare centers. K-12 schools include both private and public schools. For this category, an outbreak is defined by the following criteria:2 or more cases linked to the facility with epidemiologic link in a non-household setting.

    • AJP September 9, 2021 (11:59 am)

      Yes, this is what would actually be helpful. So far, I have heard from various sources that there have been 0 outbreaks. And that last year there were 0 outbreaks. From everything I’m reading, I find that information credible. Multi-layered precautions, especially masking inside, works pretty well. 

  • Bill September 8, 2021 (12:56 pm)

    As of the morning of Wednesday 9/8, the Dashboard has been updated for SW to 14, including 12 students and 2 staff.

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