Seattle Public Schools


Respiratory Illness Response

COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Illnesses

SPS continues to follow mitigation strategies to minimize transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

Respiratory Illness Prevention

Respiratory illnesses like influenza (flu), COVID-19, RSV and many others are spread when a person coughs, sneezes, talks, or laughs. The best way to prevent the spread of infectious respiratory illness is to:

  • Stay home when ill
  • Wash hands often with soap and water
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Avoid close contact with sick individuals
  • Practice healthy habits
  • Get vaccinated for preventable diseases

Check out the Is My Child too Sick to go to School guide for more information.

Symptoms, testing, and isolating

Students and staff experiencing new, changed, or worsening of respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms should stay home and away from others, and test for COVID-19.


  • Fever (≥100.4°F) or chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Decrease in appetite

Any student or staff can go back to normal activities when (for at least 24 hours) both are true:

  • Symptoms are getting better overall
  • They don’t have a fever and aren’t using fever-reducing medication

When returning to normal activities, take added precaution for the following five days. This includes taking additional steps for cleaner air, hygiene, masking, physical distancing, and testing before being around people indoors.

  • Keep in mind: Anyone who is sick may still be able to spread a virus, even if they are feeling better. They are likely to be less contagious at this time, depending on factors like how long they were sick or how sick they were.
  • If a fever develops or a person starts to feel worse after going back to normal activities, stay home and away from others again until (for at least 24 hours) both are true: your symptoms are improving overall, and you have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication). Then take added precaution for the next five days.