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COVID-19 Update: March 5

UPDATED Thursday, March 5, 2020

Is the Puyallup School District planning to close schools to stop the spread of the virus?
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is not advising school closures at this time. We are closely monitoring the health and attendance of our students and staff and preparing for any potential disruptions to school operations. Cleaning for health is a top priority and we are cleaning and sanitizing our schools and buildings with increased emphasis on disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

May families elect to keep their children at home even if they are not sick?
Families are advised to send their children to school. 

How does the Puyallup School District make decisions?
The Washington State Department of Health is the lead agency in public health crisis situations in our state and provides school districts direction on how to manage responses.

We are continuing to work closely with the Washington State Department of Health and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) so we can respond quickly to any changes in their recommendations, guidance, and direction.  One of our staff members has direct contact with the TPCHD so we are in close communication with their officials.

Under what circumstances would the Puyallup School District close schools?
If a case of COVID-19 is found in a Puyallup School District school, we will follow the direction of Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, which may include closing schools and cancelling activities. We continue to be in contact with the Health Department so we can respond quickly to their recommendations, guidance, and direction.

Will activities at schools or field trips be canceled?
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is not advising cancellation of events or field trips at this time. The District will carefully consider each situation and make decisions we believe to be in the best interest of students, or as directed by the Health Department. Any schedule changes or cancellations of activities or field trips will be communicated by school or program.

What does the district do to clean schools to prevent the spread of germs?
What cleaning is happening?

Cleaning for health is a top priority and we are cleaning and sanitizing our schools and buildings with increased emphasis on disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. We are using multiple disinfectants that are effective against viruses and approved for school environments.  This is to ensure that all surfaces are sanitized at each cleaning.

What cleaning is happening by our custodial services?

We increased the frequency of cleaning in areas that are touched often, including but not limited to:

  • Main office and reception area
  • Nursing station
  • Entryway door handles
  • Classroom door handles
  • Classroom counters, desktops and chairs
  • Classroom sinks
  • Cafeteria table surfaces
  • Locker rooms
  • Restrooms
  • Other building touch points

Per the TPCHD, school districts are to continue to use their current approved cleaning products. There is currently no specific cleaner recommended for COVID-19.

Can my student bring hand sanitizers or disinfectants to school?

  • As mentioned above, our custodial teams are working efficiently to clean all necessary spaces throughout our facilities.Nothing additional is required by staff and/or students.
  • If you feel compelled to do additional cleaning in your workspace, feel free to contact your facility operations manager (custodial staff) for the appropriate cleaner/disinfectant.
  • Reminder: students should never use disinfectants. Disinfectant wipes shouldn’t be used to clean hands. This includes Clorox wipes.

            - If students are helping to clean:
 They should only use soap and water.
 Fragrance-free baby wipes could be used for quick cleaning.

What can I do now?

The Puyallup School District encourages our parents to have plans in place, especially for those with younger children. Actions to take include:

  • Finding alternative childcare arrangements for your children in case of school closure.
  • Talking to your neighbors and other parents in your child’s school about sharing childcare duties if your children are well but the school is closed.
  • Talking to your employer about policies for working from home or shifting work schedules or responsibilities if schools are dismissed or you become sick.

I think I have COVID-19. What should I do?

Talk to your healthcare provider, who will be able to determine if you should be tested. Pierce County has no cases of COVID-19. If you suspect you have COVID-19 follow these steps to prevent the spread of disease:

 Stay home except to get medical care.
People who are mild cases of COVID-19 can isolate at home during their illness. Restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Don’t go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

- Separate yourself from other people in your home.
Stay in a specific room and away from other people and animals in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available. 

- Monitor your symptoms.  
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness gets worse. COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Call ahead before you visit your doctor or an emergency room.
If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider take steps to prevent exposure to other people.

The Puyallup School District has helpful guidelines for keeping your child at home if they are too sick. These are also helpful for adults to follow when they are sick. Find them here:

Stay Connected:

This guidance is likely to change as this situation evolves, so please know we are committed to providing you with timely updates and guidance aligned with the best recommendations and guidance from our public health authorities.