On Friday, May 2, 2020, Highline Public Schools announced that a kitchen worker tested positive for COVID-19.

The district did not say which school or facility the staff member worked.

Public Health – Seattle & King County advised them on their response.

“There are no concerns about the safety of the food because it was pre-packaged and staff uses safe food handling practices, including wearing gloves and masks,” the district said in a statement.

“Our kitchen staff practices social distancing, but out of an abundance of caution, we asked some staff members to self-quarantine for 14 days. The kitchen and adjacent areas are being deep cleaned.

“The safety of our staff and students is our highest priority in all situations, including our workplaces and the food we provide for our students.”

We reached out to the district for more details, and Chief Communications Officer Catherine Carbone Rogers sent us this statement:

“We recognize that there is heightened concern about exposure. I want to emphasize that our district staff has been following safety protocols for staff, student and families per Public Health guidance.

“Nutrition Services workers wear masks and gloves and practice social distancing, so Public Health did not deem this case to fall under criteria for positive exposure for anyone who was following these protocols. HR has notified any staff members who may have been working in close contact (within 6 feet without PPE for 10 minutes or longer–per Public Health definition) with the individual who tested positive. This was out of an abundance of caution. Public Health recommended that we do the regular cleaning and disinfecting protocol that the district utilizes for all areas that are occupied by staff.

“Public Health has advised our health services director that when staff follow protocol of social distancing, frequent hand washing and utilizing PPE, the risk of exposure in this case is no greater than it would be in any community setting such as a trip to pharmacy or grocery store. Any employees who fall into a high-risk group are not working on-site at any of our facilities.”