Inslee signs order to get students back in classrooms

The directive requires districts to offer at least two days of on-campus instruction per week for all grades.

Jan. 29, 2021, was the first day of in-person learning for first grade students in the Snoqualmie Valley School District who chose the hybrid learning option. Photo courtesy Snoqualmie Valley School District

Jan. 29, 2021, was the first day of in-person learning for first grade students in the Snoqualmie Valley School District who chose the hybrid learning option. Photo courtesy Snoqualmie Valley School District

Gov. Jay Inslee signed an emergency proclamation March 15 requiring public schools to give students in all grades a chance to return to classrooms for in-person instruction by the end of next month.

Districts must provide an option for at least two days of on-campus instruction by April 5 for kindergarten through sixth-grade students and by April 19 for grades seven to 12. They would be in remote learning the rest of the time. Students also will have the option to continue with 100% re

mote learning.

By April 19, all districts must offer at least 30% of average weekly instructional hours on campus for those students who wish to attend in person. “Under no circumstances” can that be less than two days a week, which includes partial days, reads the order.

After that, districts “must continue to work” to increase school capacity and classroom time for students, the order says.

“Our educators have been creative and have worked diligently to provide the very best for all their students, including remote learning, but it is clear that there is no substitute for in-classroom learning. It is time to return to the classroom,” Inslee tweeted late Monday.

The order is legally enforceable and violators could be subject to criminal penalties. But the governor said last week the aim is to work with districts on reopening schools, not to punish them.

As of March 1, 41% of Washington’s public school students were taking part in some in-person instruction, according to state data.

To assist with reopening, the state estimates the two most recently passed federal COVID-19 relief bills — one this week and one in December — will provide $2.6 billion to schools across the state.

In addition to personal protective equipment, ventilation systems and other safety measures, Inslee is asking schools to use some of the dollars for mental health counselors, nurses and other support workers.


Talk to us

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

More in News & Comment

The Monroe Correctional Complex on April 9, 2020. (Sound Publishing file photo)
Formerly incarcerated people regain right to vote in Washington

Rights restored immediately upon release.

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Salmon update: King County wants cleaner water, more habitat

Salmon and orcas are in the spotlight once again as King County… Continue reading

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

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.

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.

Courtesy photo
Issaquah School District settles negligence lawsuit for $4.25 million

The lawsuit alleged the district covered for a now-convicted child molester while he was a teacher.

Sound Publishing file photo
More people can get the COVID vaccine on March 31, but supply is still limited

The number of people eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is set… Continue reading

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