COVID guidelines in a new school year: What Spokane Public Schools is doing to keep students, staff safe

SPOKANE, Wash. — School districts are prioritizing a safe in-person start to the school year.

If you’re still nervous about having your child back in the classroom during the pandemic, Spokane Public Schools has outlined health and safety protocols you’ll need to know.

These protocols are different than they were early on in the pandemic.

Students will all be in class in person, social distancing isn’t as strict and learning in cohorts is a thing of the past.

As COVID cases start to surge again, safety continues to be a top priority.


Governor Inslee announced in mid-August that masks would be required for students and staff in all grade levels this Fall.

For Spokane Public Schools, this means in all buildings and on the school bus.

As for the type of mask, gaiters and face shields are allowed — but gaiters need at least two layers.

Face shields must have skirting on the bottom.

Students will be able to take masks off when they’re outside or eating.


If any students become sick with COVID, parents and families are asked to call their student’s school office.

Students who need to quarantine, either from being sick or being exposed to COVID, will work with their teachers to determine a learning-at-home plan.

The District also plans to do contact tracing again this year.


When it comes to seating, students will follow a seating chart only at the Elementary School level.

In all grade levels, students will be spaced 3 ft. apart when feasible.

No further protocols are in place for standing in line or during passing period, but students are encouraged to give others space.


Those who are showing symptoms need to get a COVID test or quarantine for 10 days.

If someone vaccinated ends up testing positive, they need to quarantine 10 days following that positive result.

They can only return to school after a negative PCR test or symptom improvement — including no fever for 24 hours.

Those who are asymptomatic after being exposed to COVID do not need to quarantine, but they need to take a test three to five days after being exposed and watch for any possible symptoms for two weeks.


For students and staff who are unvaccinated, quarantine rules are a little different.

Those who are showing symptoms of COVID need to stay home and test negative before going back to school.

A positive test means staying home for 10 days after the positive test or from the time symptoms started.

Unvaccinated students and staff who are exposed to COVID need to quarantine for at least seven days.

Those exposed at home need to quarantine for 17.

Here’s a full look at what Spokane Public Schools is doing to put safety first this year.

SPS has expressed that these guidelines are subject to change as COVID-19 guidance evolves in the future.

You can also get all your questions answered ahead of the first day of school in a Back-To-School webinar this Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m.