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.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Photo of promotional recruitment banner used by Auburn Police Department at Petpalooza. The banner features Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson, who is awaiting trial for the 2019 murder and assault of Jesse Sarey. Photo courtesy of Jeff Trimble
Auburn police use photo of embattled officer on recruitment banner

Families of people killed by Jeffrey Nelson, who’s awaiting trial for murder, speak out over use of his photo at Petpalooza.

T
Use your King County library card to explore the outdoors

KCLS cardholders can check out a Discover Pass for two weeks to explore public lands.

Monkeypox virus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.
King County identifies first presumptive monkeypox case

The illness is not as easily transmitted compared to COVID-19, according to health officer.

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Screenshot from Barnes and Noble website
Cover art of books that KSD Librarian Gavin Downing says have been under fire: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George Matthew Johnson.
Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award

Gavin Downing refused to keep ‘silence in the library’ amid attempted book banning and censorship.

t
Kent elementary school teacher accused of using racist language toward student

River Ridge Elementary instructor placed on administrative leave by Kent School District.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.