UPDATED MARCH 11: The State Department of Health issued updated preschool and K-12 guidance related to COVID-19 to begin Saturday, March 12.
As previously announced by Gov. Jay Inslee, the indoor mask mandate is ending. Starting March 12, masks are not required in schools, on buses, or on school property, with a few exceptions (students in Head Start classrooms, school isolation and health rooms, for example).
Students and staff can choose to continue to wear a mask or not wear a mask. We know these changes can be difficult. Please talk with your child about what makes them comfortable. After March 11, if your child needs support with wearing a mask or not wearing a mask, please let your school know.
Quarantine and isolation
Students and staff exposed to someone with COVID-19 no longer need to quarantine, unless they have COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status.
Those potentially exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to monitor for symptoms, consider a mask for 10 days after exposure, and get tested 3-5 days after exposure, regardless of vaccination status.
Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate at home for at least five full days, regardless of vaccination status. They can return to school or work after five days of isolation if:
- They have no symptoms, or symptoms are improving, AND
- They’ve had no fever in the past 24 hours without fever-reducing medication
When they return after day 5, they:
- Must wear a mask or face shield with a drape during days 6-10, OR
- Test negative with an antigen or at-home test after day five. Testing after day 10 is not necessary.
If they are unable to wear a mask and do not test negative, they must continue to isolate and can return after day 10.
Physical distancing is no longer required.
Contact tracing and communication
We will continue to report positive cases to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, but the contact tracing that used to follow that case reporting is no longer required.
We will notify families with students who were potentially exposed at school. We will also continue to notify our staff if they were exposed or potentially exposed at work.
Continuing COVID-19 prevention measures
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community, Tacoma Public Schools will continue to offer various testing options, including take-home tests for students and staff; walk-in clinics at two different TPS sites; and in-school testing. We’ll also continue to offer vaccine clinics and have masks and other personal protective equipment in buildings.
Questions? Get more information
TPS families and staff can contact a call center with two nurses who can answer COVID-19 health and safety related questions. Nurses are contracted with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and will be able to answer questions about local guidance and resources. It’s open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, through the end of the school year. It will be closed on government holidays. Call 253-649-1240.
TPS Media Contact
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...