K-12 School Opening Recommendations Outlined by Gov. Inslee
Grouping Washington counties into high-risk, moderate-risk and low-risk categories was the main takeaway from Wednesday afternoon's briefing by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The incumbent, who will take on GOP challenger Loren Culp in the November general election, laid out K-12 school opening recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health along with the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
High-risk counties have more than 75 new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period. According to the Gov. Inslee, 25 counties are considered high-risk as of this writing in Washington, including Benton, Franklin, Yakima and Spokane. The recommendations include beginning the year online and canceling extracurricular activities for high-risk counties.
For counties with no more than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period, they will be deemed moderate-risk, and the Health Department is recommending distance learning for middle school and high school students with possible in-person learning for elementary schools. Moderate risk counties should also cancel extracurricular activities.
Low-risk counties, posting numbers fewer than 25 new cases over a two-week period, are recommended to create a hybrid in-person and distance learning model for middle school and high school students. Low-risk counties are recommended to have full-time in-person elementary learning. There are only five counties in Washington (Asotin, Garfield, Jefferson, San Juan, Wahkiakum) that are currently deemed low-risk.
Gov. Inslee continued to encourage people to use face coverings and practice social distancing so Washington can send kids back to the classroom. The state said it will provide $8.8 million to help low-income families buy internet plans and address other technology needs.