Gov. Inslee strongly suggests most Washington schools return to online learning this fall

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee met with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and health officials to discuss what he says are “strong recommendations” for school districts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The rate of transmission of this virus is not low enough,” said Inslee, adding he fears opening schools too soon will only increase the spread. 

In order to curb that spread, Inslee offered what he is calling “strong recommendations” for schools- saying the suggested framework will not be legally enforced, but he hopes school and local leaders will take it into consideration. 

The framework places counties in three categories, based on high, moderate, or low risk. 

For high risk counties, or ones where the rate of infection is more than 75 cases per 100,000 over a two-week span, Inslee is recommending schools use distance learning with in-person learning in small groups. In those counties, all in-person extra curricular activities would be canceled. 

Moderate counties- those where the rate of infection is less than 25-75 per 100,000 over a two-week period- Inslee is recommending distance learning for most middle to high school students. Canceling in-person extra curricular activities is also suggested. 

There are currently only five counties is Washington that fall into the “low risk” category, with less than 25 cases per 100,000. For those counties, health officials have suggested in-person learning for elementary students, and distance learning for middle and high school students. 

Health and school leaders must be prepared to monitor and respond to an increase in cases, Inslee said.

READ: School districts determine back to school plans