CORONAVIRUS: Seattle Public Schools reports 117 cases, adds school-by-school numbers

Monday is when Seattle Public Schools updates its new COVID-19 dashboard (although last week included additional midweek updates). The cumulative districtwide case total is now 117 – 32 of those in the Southwest Region (West Seattle/South Park) – and the district has added school-by-school numbers and a map:

In our area, Chief Sealth International High School and Lafayette Elementary report 6 each, Denny International Middle School and Highland Park Elementary report 4 each, Gatewood and Roxhill Elementaries report 3 each, Pathfinder K-8 reports 2, and there’s 1 each at West Seattle High School, Louisa Boren STEM K-8, and Genesee Hill and Sanislo Elementaries. (The numbers are not broken out between students and staff, just by school.) None are reported at Madison Middle School, Alki Elementary, Arbor Heights Elementary, Concord International (Elementary), Fairmount Park Elementary, or West Seattle Elementary. The 32 total cases in this area is 20 more than were listed when the dashboard launched a week ago.

61 Replies to "CORONAVIRUS: Seattle Public Schools reports 117 cases, adds school-by-school numbers"

  • High Point September 13, 2021 (2:43 pm)

    Anyone else not the least bit surprised about the disparity between the north end and south end? Definitely supports the narrative concerning equity in Seattle. 

    • skeeter September 13, 2021 (3:23 pm)

      I dunno High Point.  Lawton has the most cases in the entire district.  And that’s one of the wealthiest and whitest areas of the city.  Are you thinking that schools with wealthier students have better mitigation policies and practices?  (My child is at Boren Stem.  1 case out of 500 students is pretty encouraging.  Especially when only about 20% of the students are old enough to be vaccinated.)    

      • High Point September 13, 2021 (3:37 pm)

        You are not wrong about these numbers actually being somewhat encouraging. The fact that one school doesn’t have 80% of the cases is actually great news. I have no data to back up my comment just speculation, I think I wrote it in a way that suggests that. In my mind, things that could allow a school to have less risk are things such as more tents for outdoor eating, small student body due to parents being able to home school, extra teachers or specialists due to fundraising. The narrative (as I suggested) is that north end schools are more likely to have these extras for whatever the reason. My student’s school has classes merging daily during specialists such as art and P.E. (or at least that’s how it was presenting to me).

        • JUSTIN September 13, 2021 (8:21 pm)

          Your comment while lacking facts brings up some good questions. Are there more students in the South end because the North tends to be more wealthy and therefore have more land meaning less students per SQ mile? Are the schools better equipped with better ventilation? It’s it just that the parents can afford to have their kids at home because they to work from home more? It really does show that we should crunch the numbers and find it why some places are better. At the same time this could be coincidence and the numbers could flip at anytime.

          • SB September 15, 2021 (6:42 am)

            Note that these are not at-school transmissions. They are likely to effect infection rates of the community they serve. See all King County vaccination rates by Zip code – also impacts community infection. That said, yes. Let’s be sure we get all schools properly mitigated to keeps kids safe.

          • JJ September 20, 2021 (2:01 pm)

            I’ve seen no evidence presented that these aren’t in-school transmissions. That’s a bold statement without the evidence to back it up. All we know is that the documented cases are pretty small so far. Certainly, with asymptotic spread, these very well could be in-school transmissions.

    • WS resident September 13, 2021 (4:04 pm)

      West Seattle elementary? 1 case? That’s south and there are several schools in the north with more?! 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • westwood September 13, 2021 (4:10 pm)

      Not really seeing the disparity you do.  The two schools with the highest numbers…Lafayette and Sealth.  One north, one south.  One each at WSHS and Sanislo.  Also, one north and one south.  Nice grasp though.

      • High Point September 13, 2021 (4:55 pm)

        80% of the cases are in the south end. Maybe that has less to do with the schools themselves and more to do with the populations found in these neighborhoods? Perhaps less people who are able to work from home?

      • AmyC September 13, 2021 (7:24 pm)

        I think High Point was talking about north end vs south end of SEATTLE in general. Not specific to the WS peninsula. 

        • High Point September 13, 2021 (8:30 pm)

          Sorry, I definitely mean south end of Seattle. All of us in WS are south end schools. 

  • S.E. September 13, 2021 (2:44 pm)

    What happens at the schools with cases? Does just the infected student or staffer go into quarantine? Their classmates? The school? Are parents of students at the school notified? I’m surprised that neither the individual school sites nor the SPS site explains this. I ask as someone who works in an after-school program at one of these schools with multiple reported cases and we haven’t heard a word about the cases or what happens in response. Makes me nervous…

    • Sealth Denny Mom September 13, 2021 (3:29 pm)

      Good questions!  I’m seeing on the news that other schools in the greater Seattle area send notices home for those with contact near infected student so they can stay home etc.   Isn’t SPS doing the same?

    • skeeter September 13, 2021 (3:29 pm)

      Well I can only guess based on my observation, but to answer your question:  when a student is diagnosed with Covid, the classroom IS notified but the whole school IS NOT notified.  Neither the classroom or the school is quarantined, only the student.  Please note this is my observation based on extremely limited and anecdotal evidence.  

      • Sofie September 14, 2021 (8:32 am)

        I have a student who was a close contact of someone who tested positive. I got a call from a district nurse telling me about this, advising me to get her tested after five days had passed, and in the meantime she needs to quarantine. The whole classroom was notified, but only close contacts of the person were told to quarantine. I know at least two other children in her class are quarantining as well. So it isn’t just the covid-positive student who quarantines.

        • MercyMoi September 15, 2021 (5:39 am)

          Thank you for sharing this, Sofie. 

    • CM September 13, 2021 (3:33 pm)

      My understanding based on what I think I heard from the principal at AH is that cases will be handled on an individual basis in coordination with an assigned Public Health contact tracer. In general each student at our school has a laptop assigned to them, kept at the school. If a class or multiple classes have a case and the Public Health contact tracer determines that one or more classes have to shut down, that whole class will convert to remote learning during that period of time. One thing I also remember reading somewhere is that the cases just represent members of the school community that have tested positive. It’s not necessarily an indicator that the case originated in the school or that the student/staff that tested positive was ever in the school during that time. Take all of this with a grain of salt because this is just my understanding not actually sure what is happening in those schools where cases have been identified. 

    • Monica September 16, 2021 (10:27 am)

      Whoever is exposed is sent home along with infected person

  • Concerned September 13, 2021 (3:12 pm)

    The lack of notification is concerning given many students are seated at shared desks in elementary schools despite advised social distancing and SPS is not doing any screening testing to catch outbreaks. Would WS parents like to post examples of less than ideal covid measures somewhere so we can all be informed?  Or let us know that parents/students are being informed of cases in their classes? 

    • K September 13, 2021 (4:34 pm)

      The affected class is indeed notified.

      • SPS isn’t telling the truth September 13, 2021 (6:11 pm)

        But they’re not if the kids ate breakfast together or played together at recess. There’s no tracking like that. If they are together in the lunchroom only the kid sitting next to them is considered exposed. Not the child sitting unmasked 7 feet away. Or behind or in front of them. 

        • Jay September 14, 2021 (9:50 am)

          The only way to do that effectively would be to use WA Notify and the bluetooth antennas on their phones. It’s a secure, anonymous system but it’s also voluntary and has a low level of trust and therefore a low level of adoption. If you come into contact with someone in bluetooth range, you swap anonymous keys. If you report a positive test result, people with keys you’ve seen recently will get a notification.

    • Alki Mom September 13, 2021 (6:15 pm)

      Reports I hear from my kids school are very reassuring, only one student per desk, hepa filter, lunch outside and distanced from each other, all teachers vaccinated. My guess is that most students get Covid outside of school settings.

  • Ly September 13, 2021 (3:20 pm)

    Are the schools going to notify the parents and families? Yikes.

    • WSB September 13, 2021 (3:30 pm)

      According to district protocol, which is linked from the dashboard page, the district “notifies families when there is a positive COVID-19 case in their child’s classroom.”

      • Ly September 13, 2021 (3:48 pm)

        “….in the child’s classroom”. Thank you, but the rest of the parents don’t get notified? Shouldn’t they get heads up too? If the infected one is walking down the hall to the bathroom, he/ she would most likely encounter other students, sharing the same air. This is going to be interesting.

        • K September 13, 2021 (4:41 pm)

          I’m just curious what you would do with the information?  If a single student in the school (outside of your child’s class) had covid and you were notified, would you pull your child from school to quarantine?  Should the whole school close?  For privacy reasons, they can’t tell you who the affected student is, so there’s no way you can tell if they just happened to walk past each other.  There is certainly some inherent risks in sending your child to school right now, but the schools can’t shut down for every case that pops up.  They are making a reasonable assessment regarding who should be notified.  I truly feel my child’s school is doing their absolute best to prevent the spread.  You can always keep an eye on the SPS dashboard and if the numbers rise beyond something you’re comfortable with, you can make your own decisions. 

          • Ly September 15, 2021 (10:31 am)

            Thank you for your suggestions, but as you can see I am already caught up on the information.   I am wise enough to make these best decisions for myself and know where to look for the info, but not all parents are caught up with the news or know exactly where to go to get the information. I am not asking the school to provide specifics on which students were infected nor did i ever suggest that the entire school closes, so i don’t know why you’re asking me whether schools should close??  That’s not my decision to make. However, if I knew there were cases and was notified about it, I’d probably quarantine my kid at home. Or, maybe have them take a test to rule out infection at the very least. As it stands, there were six cases at Lafayette and a few of my friends who have kids in that school were not even aware of it because of lack of notification. Some kind of communication would be better, than radio silence. Then, from there what the family decides to do with it, is up to them i guess.

        • skeeter September 13, 2021 (4:51 pm)

          Ly – I suppose the rest of the parents are notified when the dashboard is updated.  Honestly, I don’t see much value in being notified of a Covid case in my child’s school if it wasn’t my child’s classroom.  What would I do with this information?  

          • Ly September 15, 2021 (10:35 am)

              Maybe get a rapid test to rule out any infection, then stay home if it’s a positive outcome? That is what I would do. But then on the flip side, I don’t know that most parents would want to deal with the hassle of testing.

            ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • Alison September 13, 2021 (5:58 pm)

          Seems like the dashboard is kind of a notification if you want to know school wide. So for West Seattle High, I know that one infected person could have walked by my kid in the hall or interacted with him at lunch or after school. If it’s a close friend, he’d probably know because his friend would tell him. 

  • M September 13, 2021 (3:43 pm)

    I think these numbers may include cases where the infection took place before the school year started if the kids were still quarantined at the start of the school year.   
    My kids both tested positive prior to the start of school and missed a few days. So the absence was coved infection, but not school connected

    • High Point September 13, 2021 (5:06 pm)

      That’s correct. Probably 100% of the cases are kids testing positive at home and then potentially coming to campus. Or maybe these are the number of absences due to COVID? I imagine if COVID was spreading on campus then we would see spikes at a single school, I’m not seeing that in the data. 

      • WSB September 13, 2021 (5:49 pm)

        In discussion following last week’s story we had information on the sources of the cases. Quoting Seattle Public Schools’ media rep:

        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.)

  • Ly September 13, 2021 (3:57 pm)

    ventilation, Covid-19 and why it matters in schoolshttps://schools.forhealth.org/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Do our schools implement these measures for ventilation?

  • Frog September 13, 2021 (4:19 pm)

    The map is visual poetry — like the city of Seattle is developing a giant multi-colored rash.  As for additional information, what I would like to see is data on case outcomes:  severity of symptoms, number of hospitalizations, number of school days missed beyond required quarantine; number of family members affected.  Perfect data would be unobtainable, of course, but best available data would still be informative.  Because, well … you could do the same chart for other diseases, like seasonal influenza, strep throat, etc. and get a similar-looking map.  And at some point we need to start accepting that COVID is never going away, and it will be just another infectious disease that we always need to live with.  It is, alas, part of the Seattle character to have an exaggerated sense of how much control can be exercised over nature.  Coronavirus research from long before COVID (research on common cold viruses) suggested even natural immunity is not long-lasting, and vaccines might not have long-term effect.  It’s possible that COVID will be no easier to control than cold viruses, and re-infection and breakthrough infection will be part of life forever.  Then it’s possible that the Seattle character will freaque out, and start looking for scapegoats, and saying very unkind things about their neighbors, because their fantasized degree of control over COVID, which was never possible to begin with, is in fact never achieved.  We need a path to a soft landing.

  • JJ September 13, 2021 (5:10 pm)

    I think it’s encouraging to see just 1 or no cases at some 1000+ schools.  Madison and WSHS have high vaccination rates. Hopefully that prevents very large outbreaks. I would think that those that share the lunchroom should be notified of the exposure. That’s when the masks are definitely off. Technically, they don’t have to notify anyone in the classrooms because they are masked. After elementary classroom notification would be difficult, I bet it won’t happen. But I’m a pessimist. (A pessimist who has been pretty spot on through this pandemic.) I sure wouldn’t have sent my kid into a school if she weren’t vaccinated. 

    • NotOnHolden September 13, 2021 (5:56 pm)

      Same re vaccination and in person school.  Vaccination rates are encouraging, too.  These positive COVID numbers, while I’d like to see none, are not as bad as I imagined earlier.  I still worry about folks that are unable to be vaccinated.

  • HungryKids September 13, 2021 (5:23 pm)

    Resources – Seattle Public Schools (seattleschools.org) website shows what steps the district is taking for ventilation/filtration.

  • PSPS September 13, 2021 (8:08 pm)

    According to what was posted on WSB before, Covid infection in students is detected only through self-reporting. There is no verification of any student either being vaccinated or having a recent negative test prior to their attendance.  There is testing at the school only “when symptoms arise” (i.e., when the student reveals that information to school staff.)  No consideration is given to asymptomatic spreading. No consideration is given to students (or their parents) hiding their infected student’s status. In short, this is just more happy-face denialism.

  • WOAT September 13, 2021 (8:40 pm)

    It’s worth noting not all classrooms are using single student desks.  In some classrooms they are still using the two seater desks where the expect elementary kids to sit at the edges of them.

    • Concerned September 13, 2021 (10:14 pm)

      Many students are sitting side by side at a two seater desk to keep them all facing the same direction The chair legs are only 1-2inches  apart yet somehow the students have 3 feet of space. If the classroom cannot allow each student 3 feet of space they are allowed to be closer and are in many situations. 

  • Friend O'Dinghus September 13, 2021 (8:49 pm)

    It seems like testing the sewage outflow daily at each individual campus would be the best way to spot an escalating outbreak. Are there any schools, here or anywhere, that is employing this strategy?

  • Ws resident September 13, 2021 (9:43 pm)

    I was notified on Sunday evening via text from West Seattle:West Seattle High School: Hi, I’m Brian Vance, Principal at West Seattle High School. I am sending you a link to an important message about a covid-19 positive case in one of your student’s classes.  The only problem is I have a senior and freshman so I don’t know which child may have been exposed. Then it had a link to a letter that had a lot of information but this was the part that pertains to my vaccinated kids:CLOSE CONTACTS who are fully vaccinated and NOT experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 do not need to quarantine but should be tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in all public indoor spaces for 14 days or until they receive a negative test.I am happy with the communication and feel like the protocols make sense, just wish it said which of my kids had a class with the student.

    • MrsT September 14, 2021 (7:48 am)

      We got the same letter, but we only have a Senior presently at WSHS if that helps. 

  • Canton September 13, 2021 (10:15 pm)

    Curious as to what access parents have to particular schools? At my kids school, Highland park, the parents are not allowed to step foot on school property, masked or otherwise. I have seen it played out different in other areas of the city. Is this common in the area?

    • MercyMoi September 14, 2021 (5:51 am)

      It is an SPS rule that parents may not set foot inside school buildings until October 29th (at which point the rule will be reevaluated). Did you mean that Highland Park Elementary doesn’t allow parents to set foot inside, or that they cannot come onto the property?

      • AMC September 14, 2021 (7:49 am)

        Where is that rule documented? Our school allows vaccinated parent volunteers.

      • Canton September 14, 2021 (8:10 am)

        Both. Understand the indoor aspect for now. Just don’t get the part about the back blacktop area where they line up. We have to be outside of the outdoor area behind the fence on public sidewalk.

      • AMC September 14, 2021 (8:44 am)

        Can you please tell me where this rule is documented? Our school is allowing vaccinated parent volunteers.

    • High Point September 14, 2021 (6:23 am)

      Same. Parents have four different drop of spots depending on which grade level their child is on. Parents do not linger or cross that spot and enter campus. I don’t drop off so I haven’t seen how this ultimately plays out. 

  • Concerned September 13, 2021 (10:27 pm)

    Many students are sitting at two seater desks facing the same direction (so not at the edges) the chair legs are 1-2 inches apart so how are they getting 3 feet of distance. If there is not enough room in the class my understanding is that SPS is allowed to give kids less than 3 feet of space. Assumptions about social distancing maybe not be the reality in the classroom given space restrictions. I was quite surprised by the lack of single desks for students! 

    • High Point September 14, 2021 (7:47 am)

      It’s important to remember that SPS is offering inperson learning because they are required to. Never have I heard them say that the reason they are offering inperson learning is because it is safe. Instead, they are forced to teach inperson, it’s the Governor alone who can change this. The district and each school has developed safety plans to try and reduce COVID transmission. My child’s school has worked hard to create opportunities to keep students 3 feet apart, but never did they communicate to me that they would be able to keep my child 3 feet apart. In fact, it was clearly communicated to me that there was physical limitations on campus to allow for this. I asked the principle if they were practicing lock downs. I was told no. However, if there is a lock down my child would be packed on top of other students in a very small space (i.e. shoulder to shoulder). I asked the principle if they would be doing any assemblies. I was told no. However, I was also told that they could have them if they wanted to. So in other words, the district would allow 500 students and staff to all be in the cafeteria all at once. 90% of those people would be unvaccinated. I don’t think any school would have an assembly right now, but apparently they could. I guess this is all a long winded statement just to say that it’s always been clear from the beginning that this year would be chaos and SPS has been very clear about that from the start.

  • kiki5000 September 14, 2021 (3:32 pm)

    At Lafayette Elementary, parents are allowed on the playground if masked but not inside the school.

  • Pessoa September 14, 2021 (3:54 pm)

    According to the King County dashboard the number of children 0-9 years of age who have died as a result of Covid-19 is zero. Moreover, the rate of serious complications is approaching zero. 

    • OneTimeCharley September 14, 2021 (10:01 pm)

      Death is a lagging indicator when observing Covid statistics. Schools just opened for the year. I hope it stays at zero in the weeks ahead, but fear that it will not.

  • WSParent September 16, 2021 (1:28 pm)

    Highline School District’s Covid dashboard is worth following although it’s not “live” so the data lags (there are more since last count):https://www.highlineschools.org/return-to-learn/covid-19-dashboard

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