Wednesday Gov. Inslee laid out recommendations for school districts to begin to bring students back to in person classes. He did say these are not requirements, he is leaving the specific decisions up to Districts. Unlike his lockdown of businesses and industries, he is taking a hands off approach to schools.

Inslee said "new data" now shows COVID impacts are not nearly as great on smaller children, especially elementary, as they are on older students-adults.

IN short, the following recommendations were made:

  • For counties-Districts with 50 or fewer new cases per 100,000 persons, in person classes should be resumed as much as possible
  • For counties-Districts with 50-350 per 100,000 resume as much in person as possible for K-5 and Middle School.
  • For counties-Districts with 350 per 100,000 (or higher),  K-5 as well as at or high risk students in small groups; perhaps 15 or fewer.
  • Inslee said high school students should go "last" because they are closest to adults where he says case and transmission rates are highest.

SPI Chris Reykdal made an appearance, claiming school decisions are from data and not talking points etc.  He stressed the safety protocols in WA are some of the most stringent in the nation. He claims many Districts open K-12.

Reykdal admitted, essentially, that distance learning has been a failure. Our words not his, but he all but said that. His did acknowledge the struggles and failures in the state in many core areas.

He also reiterated that decisions are up to local Districts when it comes to re opening. However, Reykdal did urge all Districts to "double down" and do everything possible to re open schools, and it can be done safely.  Perhaps the strongest words from him ever about the need to return to schools.

It appears likely that the massive data coming in about widespread student failures and falling behind have finally 'caught up' to the leadership in WA state. That, plus growing mental health reports showing alarming information about the failing mental health of WA school age students.

Inslee also wants to increase testing capacity and capability in schools.

So, the big picture of this conference is, the state is pushing to get kids back, and has issued recommendations, but up to Districts themselves.

What will happen locally depends upon School Boards and health department.