SEATTLE — More than 900 COVID-19 cases were associated with outbreaks in Washington K-12 schools between August 2020 and April 30, 2021, according to a new report from the state Department of Health (DOH).
The report was created using COVID-19 testing data, reported outbreaks from local health departments and DOH interviews with K-12 school administrators or COVID-19 coordinators.
According to the report, there were 909 confirmed cases, no deaths and fewer than 10 cases were hospitalized overnight. The DOH said 88% of the hospitalized cases were among adult school staff.
The DOH said 61% of the reported cases were students age 18 and younger.
A total of 237 school outbreaks were reported to the DOH during that time and 70% of the outbreaks involved two or three cases.
The largest number of school outbreaks occurred in April 2021, according to the report, with 56 outbreaks and 195 cases.
The number of outbreaks across 20 Washington counties ranged between one and 57. The smallest outbreak involved two cases, according to the report, and the largest involved 36 cases.
King and Spokane counties had the largest number of COVID-19 cases, both with 219.
According to the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, there are 55,000 students in King County. Only about 0.4% of students got COVID-19 from a school outbreak.
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation requiring all Washington schools to offer students a hybrid option to return to school in April. The proclamation went into effect April 5 for grades K-6 and April 19 for all remaining K-12 students.
The DOH released updated COVID-19 health and safety guidance for K-12 schools in May. The guidance says Washington K-12 schools must plan for full-time, in-person learning for all interested students for 2021 summer classes and the 2021-2022 school year.
Several Washington school districts have already announced they plan to return to in-person learning full-time this fall, including Seattle Public Schools, the Lake Washington School District and Tacoma Public Schools.