New COVID-19 safety plans for summer and 2021-22 school year

Looking ahead to the summer and fall, the Washington State Department of Health issued updated COVID-19 health and safety requirements for schools to use as we plan for the upcoming school year. 

Schools must plan for full-time, in-person learning for those who want it, while at the same time plan to follow these updated steps to protect students and staff from COVID-19:

  • Students, staff and visitors still must wear face coverings in schools
  • Physical distancing of at least three feet is recommended between students in classroom settings. At least six feet is recommended in these situations:    
    • Between staff/adults in the school buildings and between adults and students
    • For all staff and students in common areas, such as school lobbies and auditoriums
    • For all staff and students when masks can’t be worn, such as when eating lunch
    • For all staff and students during activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as P.E., exercise, or shouting. These activities should be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.
    • For all staff and students, in community settings outside of the classroom
  • Continue to isolate students and staff who report COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Continue to use contact tracing, communication and quarantine of those staff and students who are not fully vaccinated to limit the spread of the virus. Close contacts are still considered people who were within six feet of someone with COVID-19 for at least 15 cumulative minutes in a 24-hour period. Fully vaccinated people who are close contacts will still be reported to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, but they will not have to quarantine. 

Completing the daily COVID-19 daily health survey is not required in the 2021-2022 school year. 

While testing and vaccinating for COVID-19 are not required for in-person learning, they can help reduce the spread of the virus. TPS will continue to offer vaccination and testing opportunities. 

Please note that the state’s guidance could change between now and the start of the school year. Find the entire set of guidelines here: K-12 Schools Requirements 2021-2022 (

The guidelines apply no matter what phase Pierce County is in.

TPS Media Contact

Kathryn McCarthy, Strategic Communications and Marketing Manager | 253-571-1015 |

About Tacoma Schools

Tacoma Public Schools is the only district designated an Innovation Zone by Washington State. A leader in implementing innovative schools and programs to meet the diverse needs of every student, every day, TPS serves approximately 30,000 students from preschool to grade 12 and at nearly 5000 employees is one of the largest employers in Tacoma. Learn more...


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