Communicating COVID Positive Cases

Dear Rochester Family,

We want to let you know our process for communicating about cases of COVID-19 at our school. This plan was developed collaboratively with Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) to create consistency and prioritize student and staff safety.

Confirmed Case

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, PHSS and our district will share the information about the diagnosis with one another. Medical information will only be shared between PHSS and the school nurse OR identified school contact to protect the individual’s privacy. Our school will not share the names of individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Our school nurse OR identified school contact will work with PHSS to provide the information they need to conduct contact tracing. This investigation will help them determine who was in close contact with this person.

  • Close contact definition in K-12 classroom: Students who were wearing a face covering and were within 3 feet of another student with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes over 24 hours.
  • Close contact definition anywhere else at school and between students and adults: Someone within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes over 24 hours.

PHSS or our school will contact only those who are considered close contacts and provide next steps. If you do not receive a phone call, then your child does not meet the close contact criteria. No further action is needed. Your child may continue with in-person instruction. Because PHSS will contact those who are affected — and to protect individual privacy — our school will not contact families about a single confirmed COVID-19 case.


Quarantine is when someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 stays home and away from others for the recommended period of time in case they were infected and are contagious. Your child may be exempt from quarantine if they are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms. They should be tested 3 to 5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.


Our custodial staff will thoroughly clean and sanitize the affected area based on COVID-19 exposure cleaning protocols. Please remind your child of the following health tips:

  • Do not come to school when you are sick.
  • Practice physical distancing.
  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth.
  • Clean your hands often. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a school-approved hand sanitizer. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.

Confirmed Outbreak

Washington State Department of Health defines an “outbreak” as two or more students or staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19, who are linked through a shared location, like a classroom or school bus, and did not have significant contact outside of the school grounds.

If PHSS notifies us of a COVID-19 outbreak, our school will contact only the families of students from the affected shared location. PHSS may require us to suspend in-person instruction for students in this specific shared location.

We understand this news can be unsettling and that you will have many questions. PHSS has additional COVID-19 information on its website: Our priority is to protect the health and safety of our students and staff, including your child.


Kimberly M. Fry