Inslee announces new guidelines for schools and in-person learning

Courtesy of Gov. Inslee’s office

Courtesy of Gov. Inslee’s office

Staff reports

Gov. Jay Inslee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced Dec. 16 an update in the metrics used to inform local school district decisions for in-person learning. They also announced $3 million from set aside funds to be distributed to implement health and safety protocols.

The Department of Health suggests three categories for re-introducing in-person learning:

• For schools in counties where COVID-19 cases are “low” (less than 50 residents per 100,000), in-person learning should be made available for all students.

• In counties where COVID-19 cases are “moderate” (between 50 and 350 residents per 100,000), in-person learning should be phased in, starting with elementary students not already attending in person and middle school students, followed by high school students.

• In counties where COVID-19 cases are “high” (over 350 per 100,000 residents), it’s recommended that schools should only offer in-person instruction for elementary and high-need students in small groups of 15 students or fewer.

As of Dec. 16, King County reported 406 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the county health department’s COVID-19 dashboard. That puts King County schools in the “high” category.

The governor announced $3 million from set aside funds that he will direct to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to support health and safety work in Washington schools. This money will help fund third-party safety audits and support the staff in districts in need for more financial support in meeting safety requirements, according to the governor’s office.

Superintendent Reykdal said this funding is much needed to get students back into schools safely and that this move toward in-person learning will help students succeed.

“Our state has some of the most stringent health and safety protocols for schools in the nation, and those are working to limit the spread of the virus in our schools,” Reykdal said in the announcement. “Most students do best in the traditional in-person school environment with their peers and educators. With the science and data showing us we can do this safely, I am confident we should begin moving more of our students back to the physical classroom.”

At the Dec. 16 press conference, the governor said he will issue an accompanying proclamation requiring schools by law to implement health and safety measures, and mandates staff involvement in health and safety related decisions.

“I have sought the opinions of state and local education administrators, as well as educators, staff, parents and school boards. And today, we are providing them more clarity and confidence in getting students back in the classroom,” Inslee said during the press conference. “Many people’s lives revolve around a regular school schedule and, apart from the academics, schools provide social supports that advance healthy childhood development.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Screenshot
Issaquah and Bellevue police chase ends with stolen car in river

The two suspects have been arrested and are awaiting charges with King County.

Rob Wotton. Courtesy photo.
Rob Wotton named new member of Snoqualmie Council

The Snoqualmie City Council unanimously appointed Rob Wotton as its newest council… Continue reading

During a news conference Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explains the deployment of the National Guard to hospitals to assist with the coronavirus surge. (TVW) 20220113
Surgeries paused, National Guard deployed to assist hospitals

King County health officials say 1 in 7 ICU and acute-care hospital beds are occupied by a COVID patient.

Screenshot from City of Kent Facebook Page
Trash piles up in King County neighborhoods after agency postpones service for weeks

Collection company initially cited weather as the reason, but now a strike interferes.

Screenshot from King County Council meeting
King County Council approves new leadership, committee structure and assignments

The leadership positions and committee assignments will last through 2022.

Authorities search for 6-year-old boy and woman along the Snoqualmie River near Fall City. Photo courtesy of Eastside Fire & Rescue.
Body of 6-year-old recovered from Snoqualmie River

Authorities have recovered the body of a 6 year-old boy from the… Continue reading

Crop
WSDOT finalizing study on SR 202 improvements near Fall City

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is finalizing two studies of… Continue reading

File photo
Widespread burnout among healthcare workers prompts change at hospitals

Healthcare workers unions are supporting HB 1868 and companion bill SB 5715.

Most Read