2:04 PM: Governor Inslee has just announced that ALL K-12 schools in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties must be closed by next Tuesday, and won’t be able to reopen before April 27th. He says this is a “tipping point” if there is hope of slowing the COVID-19 outbreak. (Most, but not all, schools in our area already have closed or announced closure plans.) He says this might have to expand to other counties but right now he’s starting with these three. “Our top priority is reducing the number of infections and deaths.”
State Superintendent Chris Reykdal says that while it’s good that kids aren’t being affected as much by the virus, they can be “carriers.” Regarding the return to school on April 27th, he says they’ll be “constantly reviewing” that plan. He says King County schools’ absence rate has almost doubled recently (6% to 11%). He stresses the point that “this is not like the flu” and systems have to prepare for the possibility of longer closures, including figuring out how distance learning would work. Reykdal says everyone should think of next week as “spring break” so that substitute education, food, etc., plans can be made. He also says state funding for public schools will “keep flowing.” They’re also still figuring out what this will mean for high-school seniors. State testing, however, will likely be entirely suspended, he says.
Will these lost days have to be made up? Reykdal says they’ve advised districts that likely some days – assuming schools DO resume April 27th – will have to be made up, but there’s no “mathematical” way that ALL the lost days can or will be made up.
As for colleges, any still open need to be getting ready for potential closures, the governor says.
2:57 PM: The briefing is over so we’ve taken down the live-video window and put up a still photo. (If/when we find archived video, we’ll add it.) Here’s the governor’s news release.
5:01 PM: Here’s the video: