Lynda Wilson

Lynda Wilson

Republican state senators make bid to get children back into classrooms

Wilson, Braun among sponsors of Senate bill

A state bill to help get children back into classrooms has been introduced by several Republican senators, just as a new report shows Washington is behind nearly every other state in providing in-person instruction, according to a Senate Republican Caucus news release.

Senate Bill 5464 was introduced Tuesday, Feb. 23 the same day Senate Republican Leader John Braun, of Centralia, wrote to Gov. Jay Inslee, encouraging him to do everything under his authority to reopen schools.

“There’s no question that the longer our children are barred from classroom instruction, the more they suffer academically, socially and emotionally,” said Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, the bill’s prime sponsor. “It’s also clear that the shortcomings of remote instruction are being felt disproportionately by rural and lower-income families and communities of color. This is the equity issue of our time.”

Under the bill, schools may not be closed for in-person learning beyond 10 consecutive school days without the approval of the governor, the secretary of health or a local health officer.

“We recognize that because of the pandemic there are added costs to operating our schools safely, and our Senate Republican budget proposal addresses that,” Wilson said. “We also know from the past year that being in classrooms is best for our children. Under this new bill, very few people would be able to stand in the way of that.”

Braun is among the co-sponsors of SB 5464. He noted an online school-opening tracker updated Wednesday, Feb. 24 has Washington ranked 47th among the states, with just 19.2 percent of its students receiving in-person instruction.

“Our children have a right to a level of education that many are still being denied,” Braun said. “Being 47th in the nation is equivalent to failure.”

Braun has seen mixed messages.

“It’s been encouraging to hear the governor’s recent statements that schools should be able to reopen safely, just as it’s been discouraging to witness some of the recent opposition to opening,” Braun said. “The intent of my letter to the governor was to point out some areas where he can help get students back into classrooms. This new legislation is aimed at the same thing – and at keeping them there.”




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 Northwest

King County prosecutor, council member propose hate crimes task force

County leaders say the proposal will give better resouces to prosecute and investigate hate crimes.

Photo courtesy of 4Culture
Local artists wanted to design limited-edition ORCA Cards

Applications due by 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 5.

Photo via Pexels
King County residents needed for first respiratory study using Apple watches

UW study to help find if devices can detect early warning signs of acute respiratory infections, such as COVID-19 and flu.

Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (jnj.com)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine halted in Washington over side effect

Following federal guidance, Washington health care providers are temporarily pausing Johnson &… Continue reading

File Photo
High court ruling spurs effort to retool state’s drug laws

Meanwhile, the Blake decision has gotten people out jail, charges dismissed and possibly clemency for some.

Guns seized during April 7 arrests (photo credit: Dept. of Justice)
More than 20 arrested across the Puget Sound in drug distribution conspiracy

DOJ says law enforcement agencies seized over 70 guns and hundreds of thousands in cash.

T
Sheriff’s office wants help identifying Green River killer victim

Staff reports In 2003, Gary Ridgway, Washington’s notorious Green River killer, pleaded… Continue reading

file photo
King County municipal courts offer limited time warrant amnesty program

The program is intended to mitigate court backlog of warrants during pandemic.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. File photo
King County needs more lawyers to attack backlog of cases

6,107 open cases is double the normal amount for King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Public Health – Seattle & King County staff administering COVID-19 vaccine to a local emergency responder. COURTESY PHOTO, Public Health-Seattle & King County
Starting April 15, everyone 16 and older is eligible for a vaccine

Gov. Inslee said an expected increase in vaccine supply enables the state to open eligibility.

Stock photo
Those who switched to telework have higher income, education and better health

U.S. Census Bureau report breaks down the numbers nationwide

A CVS pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Phase Finder for vaccine eligibility to be eliminated March 31

Eligibility verification via Phase Finder no longer required for appointments, vaccinations beginning this week.