UPDATE: Governor, state superintendent announce schools will remain closed to in-person learning for the rest of this school year

2:37 PM: You can use the window above to click into TVW‘s live feed of Governor Inslee‘s media briefing, at which he is expected to be joined by the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Chris Reykdal. We’ll publish notes while the briefing’s in progress.

He starts by announcing there will be no in-person school for the rest of this school year. But “if you’re a senior in good standing, we expect you will receive your diploma this year.” He says at least 13 states have already closed their schools for the rest of the year. Distance learning WILL continue, Inslee makes clear. “Together we will ensure that learning continues in the state of Washington,” he says.

He also says they MIGHT be able to consider graduation ceremonies, depending on how things go.

Seattle Public Schools has just sent a statement:

Following today’s emergency proclamation by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Seattle Public Schools will not reopen its school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
While buildings remain closed, the work by SPS educators to provide continuous learning to students will continue.

This continuity of learning includes a variety of methods and channels used by educators to teach their students, some of which include:

• Learning packets distributed weekly
• Teacher-led video lessons distributed on our social media channels, SPS-TV and by our broadcast partners
• Online instruction when possible
• Telephone contact

“This is how we ‘do school’ now – remotely, with families as co-educators and partners,” said SPS Superintendent Denise Juneau. “Never has family engagement been so important and we’ll all have to work at this together with patience and understanding.”

In addition to the continuity of learning, SPS will continue to provide other supports and services, including meal distribution from the SPS Nutrition Services team.

SPS will be providing additional information in the coming days about what the extended closure means for staff and students, including information about graduation for seniors and information for students receiving specialized services.

For more information about the SPS response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, please see our website page, “Seattle Public Schools Coronavirus Response FAQ.”

2:45 PM: Reykdal speaks now:

He says it could be disastrous if in-person school resumed too soon – one case would shut down a school and disrupt many. He says this is also already touching off conversations and considerations about what fall will or should like. He also says that connectivity must be improved, as much of a right “as clean water.”

2:52 PM: Now to Q&A with reporters. The governor says, “We have not reached the peak of this pandemic.” He stresses that even when the rate of fatalities goes down, “we have to be intensely committed … to all that we’re doing.” Another question is about the state’s data lag regarding hospitalizations; the governor says he’ll look into it. Asked about the ventilators the state is sending back to the federal stockpile, he says they were requested when the caseload was predicted to double every week, “and that’s not occurring.”

In response to another question, Reykdal confirms that the proclamation closes ALL schools – public, private, charter. … Regarding educational equity, Inslee repeats something he said during opening remarks, that on-site education might be possble for some students “with profound challenges.” … Asked about a pass/fail model, Reykdal says they’re working with higher-education institutions to ensure that grades and transitions aren’t harmed for high-school students. … How many students in the state still don’t have connectivity? Reykdal says that data is being collected now.

3:15 PM: Briefing’s over. The video window above should soon provide access to the recorded version, so we’re leaving it up.

66 Replies to "UPDATE: Governor, state superintendent announce schools will remain closed to in-person learning for the rest of this school year"

  • Jeanne Slonecker April 6, 2020 (2:54 pm)

    I’m curious what’s happening to ensure that children and adults who may be in or at risk of being in abusive relationships are safe during this time of extreme isolation. 

  • M April 6, 2020 (3:05 pm)

    I understand the reasoning, but please tell me how working parents are supposed to cover this?  I can not work from home and do not have enough PTO to cover 4 months of this.  

    • Deb April 7, 2020 (12:59 am)

      Hi M,The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has published info about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or the FFCRA and  offer details on extended paid leave opportunities for individuals who CANNOT telework and have children who cannot attend school.  I would call this number to find out more options: 1-866-487-9243 or google FFCRA and see what could apply to this situation for you. I hope it helps. 

  • Zmmr April 6, 2020 (3:14 pm)

    I wish you also announced that the Pesident is on TV too.Why is the governor having is press conference while the president is on?

    • WSB April 6, 2020 (3:57 pm)

      Z, we are not on the White House press list (unlike the governor, county executive, and mayor) so (a) we don’t know, (b) have no access to feeds, and (c) we are a local site, not national. Surely there are multiple cable channels/streams covering whatever he has to say whenever he says it.

    • Graciano April 6, 2020 (4:22 pm)

      Z, Would you like for the WSB to let you know when your dinner is ready too? Come on give them a break will ya they’ve have been working endlessly since this whole virus outbreak has happened and also reporting the “regular” news around here non-stop!

    • WS REZ April 6, 2020 (6:45 pm)

      ZMMR, come on, if you have the ability to come on here and comment that, you also have the ability to stream the president. The blog gets paid by sponsors in our local area. 

    • David April 6, 2020 (7:42 pm)

      Who cares about the damn president. If you want to hear fairytales and grade-A conjured crap, go watch Netflix or read a comic book.

      • zmmr April 6, 2020 (9:10 pm)

        Hey hey hey  please show some respect to our Leader- Commander in Chief!!Sorry I don’t netflick and my neighbor and I share internet connection, save money.Yes -I would like to be notified when is dinner and when is my bath time.

        • Elle Nell April 6, 2020 (11:03 pm)

          Trump deserves ZERO respect. Dr Strangelove is alive and well here folks..

        • Zark00 April 7, 2020 (10:14 am)

          Respect is earned.

        • Ken April 7, 2020 (6:29 pm)

          @ ZMMR, you’re kidding right? The current occupant of the White House is one of the most vile, disgusting creatures to ever exist on this planet. To state that people should show respect is far beyond ludicrous.

  • TJ April 6, 2020 (3:14 pm)

    Wow. The school year doesn’t end for over 2 months and the towel has been thrown in. And I certainly hope they already aren’t talking about next school year? Talk about setting a bad example by waving the white flag and telling kids to hide. We can’t hide in our houses forever. The cases will never go to zero before people are tired of being told by government they have to live under house arrest. 

    • Giveitarest April 6, 2020 (4:03 pm)

      Yeah…we know how you and your friends feel. 

    • neighbor April 6, 2020 (4:03 pm)

      We get it. You still don’t take this seriously. Change the channel already.

      • YES2WS April 6, 2020 (4:48 pm)

        So, Tj, what exactly is the deal with you and your “friends?  We get it… you get antsy and ticked off when told to heed precautions. But trying to send thousands of people back to the classrooms prematurely? Really?  What are you not getting?The governor is basing his decisions on science. What exactly are you basing yours on?

    • J April 6, 2020 (4:19 pm)

      Hmm. I think that was what Boris Johnson said too.

    • Carrie April 6, 2020 (4:34 pm)

      Right! Why aren’t we training kids to punch the virus!?

    • West Seattleite April 6, 2020 (4:40 pm)

      How is this a bad example? Following the laws and staying safe and healthy is a bad example for your kids? We’re in the worst pandemic in 100 years and you want to send your kids back to school just to get out of the house? I don’t understand your logic.

      • DB April 7, 2020 (8:30 am)

        I think the 100 is a typo, I think you meant 11 years.

    • CherylR April 6, 2020 (5:00 pm)

      You know what shocks ME? That so many people think this thing will actually be “over” any time soon… prepare for 12-18 months, neighbors. It’s going to be a LONG ride.

    • NIGEL TUFNEL April 6, 2020 (5:12 pm)

      Dearest TJ,By all means, feel as though the real world doesn’t exist, and the situation around you doesn’t exist, and that all these folks who are trying to make this situation better are just out to get you.Please, go live your life as if nothing is wrong, contract this killer virus, and see how you feel when you are hopefully lucky enough to be lying in a hospital bed on a ventilator, fighting for your life.

    • mark47n April 6, 2020 (5:26 pm)

      The buildings are closed but school is in session albeit remotely. Teachers and administrators are hard at work trying to bootstrap a system that is equitable (for those that say “online is the way to go” bear in mind that not every child has a device or access to internet and this would not be equitable). 

      • Zark00 April 7, 2020 (10:24 am)

        Hopefully this will be the end of Superintendent Juneau. Her handling of this has been pathetic. She had to be forced to enact remote learning. Amazon is doing more for Seattle students than our superintendent. Juneau didn’t reach out to Amazon for logistics, hasn’t pulled in Microsoft for support, and hasn’t reached out to TMobile for hotspots. Really sad sorry showing by SPS “leadership”.

  • Alki resident April 6, 2020 (3:39 pm)

    We’re going to see a huge increase in child abuse and deaths now. 

    • Graciano April 6, 2020 (4:27 pm)

      Alki Resident, how so and TJ are you just getting tired of having to take responsibility for your children at times when it is REALLY necessary, not like it never is but more so now? 

    • East Coast Cynic April 6, 2020 (5:08 pm)

      I believe that an abusive household is still an abusive one even if the kid is going to school.  The parent or parents simply have fewer opportunities and phony excuses to act out their psychopathology and cruelty.  In many cases, I think that such parents, when they engage in such anti-kid behavior, are people who in many cases, whether the kid is home full time or not, need to be dealt with by social services or the criminal justice system with extreme prejudice.

  • Kim April 6, 2020 (3:49 pm)

    Do we know yet if summer camps will be allowed?  

    • Kara April 6, 2020 (4:35 pm)

      Last I heard all Girl Scout summer camps are cancelled, don’t know about any others yet

    • West Seattleite April 6, 2020 (4:43 pm)

      I’m assuming that since  summer camps occur in the summer, and this only applies to the school year, then yes, as of now, summer camps will still be allowed, that is, if the said summer camp doesn’t cancel. It could be decided on an individual basis. But since we seem to be getting new information every week, it wouldn’t be surprising if summer camps close, especially in June or early July.

  • doesnt matter April 6, 2020 (3:52 pm)

    this is so wrong – inslee is an idiot

    • ktrapp April 6, 2020 (4:13 pm)

      By all means, provide us with your fact and medically based evidence that you used to come to this conclusion.

    • Anne April 6, 2020 (4:30 pm)

      What world are you living in? There’s was no way thousands of students were going to be able to gather in classrooms in next2-1/2,months-. You do realize that the only way we have to fight this virus is by continuing the distance protocol- there is no cure no drug.  This is absolutely the right call-had been hinted at by Superintendent & Governor & not sure why it took this long to announce. Let’s hope that by continuing to do what’s asked we can get to a place where school  actually can start again in September.  Can’t believe folks are actually saying this sets a bad example -we’re  waiving a white flag & teaching kids to hide-obviously they don’t take this seriously-just pray someone they care about doesn’t get sick .

    • NIGEL TUFNEL April 6, 2020 (5:14 pm)

      If it’s opposite day, then you are correct you wonderful, lovely, very nice, rational human. 

  • TJ April 6, 2020 (4:30 pm)

    I don’t take it seriously? Well as much as I think it’s a overreaction, I have lived under the shelter parameters so far. But I’m not going to forever. Sorry. The small company I have gets back to work Monday with Snohomish PUD. Im lucky I’m not getting hit financially by this (yet). But I feel for those who are being forced into state dependency by Insley. My annual get away with friends is going on as planned the 29th of this month thru that weekend no matter what anyone says. Out of 15 people, 12 are steadfast in going and are tired of this already. Yes, I know people who will ride this out as long as Inslee decides is right, but I know more that are upset and aren’t going to and that’s where this will fall apart. 

    • flimflam April 6, 2020 (6:41 pm)

      god bless you and your friends for being strong enough to hold out like a whole 2 weeks so far – no doubt that sacrifice has you feeling entitled to your regular routine “annual” stuff.wow. i wonder what this small company of yours does, by the way? i could surely use your expertise regardless of field!

    • Michael April 6, 2020 (7:13 pm)

      How is this virus Inslee’s fault?  What should he have done differently?If you want to endanger your life and the lives of everyone around you I guess you can do that.  But the least you can do is take responsibility for your own actions and admit you are doing it because you are selfish instead of blaming other people.

    • CD April 6, 2020 (7:37 pm)

      To TJ: Kinda of ironic your the reason they are to closing the schools. Be safe.

    • David April 6, 2020 (7:50 pm)

      Nobody in West Seattle cares about your annual getaway with friends. Nobody. We care about beating this thing and keeping everyone safe.

      • WS Guy April 7, 2020 (11:00 am)

        I care about TJ’s getaway.  And I fully support him or her.  Inslee cannot keep us under house arrest indefinitely.

    • MT April 6, 2020 (8:06 pm)

      Can we get the real names of all 12 of you who are going?  Because when somebody’s mother dies because you all just *had* to have your weekend, I want them to be able to sue you for every penny you have.

      • KM April 7, 2020 (12:44 pm)

        Ammon Bundy, Cliven Bundy, Ryan Bundy…to name a few

    • Elle Nell April 6, 2020 (11:09 pm)

      This guy is living in the Twilight Zone … nothing else makes sense.

    • Zark00 April 7, 2020 (10:31 am)

      TJ you’re the least American poster I’ve seen on here in a while.  Why do you hate America so much? Everyone knows these are the times our countrymen shine. When it gets tough, we get tougher. Throwing in the towel like you are, just giving up, it’s just not what we do in this country. Maybe you’re new to our shores. If so, his is a learning opportunity for you. We, Americans, pride ourselves on supporting and helping our friends and neighbors, fighting the good fight, and making America a place where anyone with a dream can succeed. So really everything you’re talking about doing is about as un-American as you could be. Try to be a little tougher, a little braver, you can do this! You can be a friend and neighbor we can all look up to 

  • Shawn April 6, 2020 (4:42 pm)

    The community should really bring these Seniors together for some kind of end of year event (Maybe an AlkI block party) to give them the closure of their last year

    • raincity April 6, 2020 (8:24 pm)

      Yes – it would be great even if there is a virtual way for them to have some type of closure. I think this last announcement of schools not opening again was a big blow for our senior. It’s been hard to cope for everyone but today has been a tough one at our household coming to grips with the impact and sense of loss for those rites of passage they had been looking forward to.

  • YES2WS April 6, 2020 (4:53 pm)

    Jeanne, (& Alki Resident?) a quick google (or even a search through this site) will give you information & resources regarding abusive situations and help for those in need.I may be wrong, but it seems you may be favoring sending thousands back to the schools prematurely and risking lives from that alone. Please, check the resources. Help is out there. 

  • Danny Brown April 6, 2020 (5:36 pm)

    How are PARENTS supposed to pay? Everyone here has been denied unemployment because you Jay Inslee made all jobs essential so you have to get sick or quit , well most ppl quit and now dont qualify for benefits thanks to you. Also you lied about getting approved the first week and having money. You as bad as trump! You love to talk about your family every announcement, what about ours? Your not for the ppl. If you were, you make sure the workers are supported. You lost my vote and my families. 

    • neighbor April 6, 2020 (5:50 pm)

      The list of essential industries is largely guided by federal guidelines, so that one’s not on Inslee. And if you are an essential worker but your employer doesn’t have work for you then you are eligible for unemployment. However if you are an essential worker and your employer has work for you to do and you choose not to do it, then you would not be eligible, as you refused work of your own volition. That has always been a disqualifier, so even that isn’t Inslee’s fault.  I get that it was a tough decision… but the fact remains that in your case, unemployment was *your* decision, not someone else’s. 

      • momosmom April 6, 2020 (7:51 pm)

        Neighbor, how about you work for an essential employer and they cut your hours from FT 40 to 3/10’s per week that qualifies you for unemployment correct? 

        • neighbor April 7, 2020 (7:07 am)

          Correct. You would be eligible for partial unemployment for the reduction in hours. 

  • WeTried April 6, 2020 (5:58 pm)

    A real life example of The Tragedy of the Commons. Thanks everyone. Been a nice run! The tragedy of the commons is a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users, acting independently according to their own self-interest, behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling the shared resource through their collective action.

  • Linda Anton April 6, 2020 (7:05 pm)

    Moving forward as a lesson to our kids…save….save…invest…invest…

  • YES2WS April 6, 2020 (9:19 pm)

    Linda Anton, if that wasn’t an offensive statement spoken from privilege.

    Why not spend some time with our at risk youth and their families when this pandemic lifts. You appear to have no clue as to what some of our community members are up against.

  • Anna April 6, 2020 (11:28 pm)

    What feels so bothersome about this is how a person can’t disagree with the governor or express concern about the choices being made without being called names. I feel very sad about this decision, and I also feel sad for the people who have lost their lives to the virus. I want to protect the vulnerable populations, and I want my daughter to have a normal life. I worry about the effect of the social distancing on her, a very outgoing and extroverted child. I know this decision is negatively impacting other families in ways I can’t imagine. I wonder why alternative options can’t be explored, like  having teachers wear masks, or seeing where we are at in May with our numbers. It seems like the virus is here to stay, and we aren’t going to have a vaccine for a while. I could imagine a situation where the vulnerable populations really protect themselves with social distancing, gloves, and masks, and where young people with no health issues go back to at least some of their old life. No, I’m not an expert, but some experts have suggested something similar. Or, even if that isn’t an option, I would appreciate if the governor would tell us what we can expect in months to come. “We are working on a plan to get everyone back to normal in September by increasing our testing capacity and providing masks for the teachers and older students,” or “Some extra curricular activities could continue if kids are able to wear masks.” Our fatality rate has stayed pretty stable, even before our shelter in place order began. Are there numbers that the state government is looking to achieve before they allow us to return to our lives? It would be helpful if they laid that out too. I want to hear more practical information at these briefings, and less about my moral obligations and our leader’s vague projections of future disasters. 

    • Calires April 7, 2020 (3:39 am)

      “I could imagine a situation where the vulnerable populations really protect themselves with social distancing, gloves, and masks, and where young people with no health issues go back to at least some of their old life.”

      What you’re describing is herd immunity and it will not work on COVID-19 (no vaccine, relatively high infection fatality rate).  They initially tried this strategy in UK, Holland and Sweden and then abandoned it.

      • songstorm April 7, 2020 (7:06 am)

        Also, masks are only as good as the people wearing them.  There were quite a few people wearing masks when we did our supply run to Costco yesterday — great, except then no one was observing the 6′ distancing.  And special shout-out to the lady who took her mask off and then coughed on my partner.  I wore a mask while shopping and could hardly stand it after an hour — it’s hard to breathe, hard to see, hard to get it to sit comfortably on your face.  Expecting teachers and kids, especially young kids, to wear a mask for 8+ hours a day is not realistic.  And while young people may not have health issues, what if they live with an elderly or immuno-compromised relative?   Telling those kids to stay home, while their peers are allowed back into school hardly seems fair.

      • DB April 7, 2020 (8:35 am)

        Sweden has not abandoned it, yet. They may in the next few days or so. I haven’t seen word from any doctor knowing if her immunity works. What I have seen is the usual “it’s too soon to know.”Anna is correct in that the virus is here, will be here forever.

    • AT April 7, 2020 (8:39 am)

      It’s those pesky asymptomatic carriers.  Students, teachers, you and me may look and feel healthy but we may actually be carrying and passing the virus around.  Unless you have been tested and remained in isolation after that, you can’t say for sure that you don’t have it.  And a lot of people who look healthy aren’t – people of all ages are out there with autoimmune diseases, diabetes, organ transplants, cancers, etc that you would never know about and that will give them less chance of survival.

    • More patience and kindness April 7, 2020 (9:04 am)

      I hear your concern for your children and understand and appreciate that.

      However, it sounds like you’re not fully understanding the gravity of the situation.

      Maybe you could look up some news stories online, regarding families impacted by the virus, to increase your understanding.

      Here is one:

      Death is permanent, people are losing their lives. Saving lives has to be a priority over things like school, and having a ‘normal life.’ We will have to experience some inconvenience to best manage this pandemic.

      This virus isn’t just impacting the ‘vulnerable population’.  

      Nearly 40% of covid-19 patients hospitalized in the US have been under the age of 55,

      20% between the ages of 20-44,

      and some children have also died from the virus. 

      There have been some reports of seemingly healthy people succumbing to the virus.

      Hang in there. This is a hard time on everyone, and I really feel for our kids. However, on the other side of this they can come back together and share their experience and grow from this. Let’s do all we can to keep them and their loved ones well.

      • David April 7, 2020 (8:47 pm)

        Sorry, I think we all understand the gravity of the situation.  Some just choose to look at the situation through more than their coronavirus only lens.  You shared a very sad article but there are thousands of other articles people can share from very sad situations as the result of the shutdown.   And yes those other situations that people chose to ignore will also result in death and suffering from a much greater population. 

    • Elton April 7, 2020 (11:56 am)

      I think the honest answers to your questions, Anna, is that this is a complicated situation that we’ve never faced before in modern society and at no level of government did we really plan for it. Hence, no one really knows – even the governor or public health officials. Yes, historically there have been terrible infectious diseases but the world was not as connected as it is now so there’s not been a disease with the level of contagiousness and fatality rate of COVID-19 to hit almost every country in the world. I think with advancements in the testing process (something our country did a terrible job at – not a political statement but objectively true when you think of the fact that South Korea’s first case was in line with our first case in the U.S. and compare their testing infrastructure to us) and a massive increase in PPE there probably is a road to a somewhat normal life in our future. I really hope we get to that point by the summer, but I don’t know. Truly normal will not happen for many months, and sadly this will be traumatic for a lot of kids and adults. Just like no one asked for WWII, no one asked for COVID to happen – it doesn’t mean that we can live normal lives right now or completely avoid the trauma. We have to offer folks as much help as we can.Even if the governor allowed schools to stay in session, you have to consider how many teachers would be willing/able to go to school to teach because they or a family member are in a high risk group. In terms of the “wait and see” approach: I’m assuming that they are closing schools now versus waiting a few more weeks to give you the other thing you’re looking for: clarity about the future. I expect that even in the optimistic modeling they’re looking at for the spread of the disease, they don’t see a scenario where schools can open widely without endangering everyone. They probably want to give the schools adequate time to prepare for that versus telling them last minute that schools are closed for the remainder of the school year.And I think the name calling is largely directed at TJ, who is not only repeatedly suggesting that these measures are unnecessary but actively planning to have a vacation with other individuals despite it. It’s one thing to weigh the mental health of your children against an infectious disease, it’s another to weigh a leisure activity against the lives lost.

  • Anna April 7, 2020 (10:03 am)

    Good points everyone! Yes, I hear you on the mask issues. I wore one at the ER a few weeks back and I found myself moving to take it off every time I had to talk to someone. I still wish there was more of a focus on possible solutions and action plans. I just don’t see at this point what’s going to change by June, September, 2021, and it would be nice to hear more ideas about how to make regular life happen in the months to come. I’m not suggesting the laissez-faire approach of the UK, although it looks like Sweden is doing ok so far? I very much appreciate the respectful debate of my comment! Thank you everyone. 

  • more patience and kindness April 8, 2020 (9:26 am)

    Thanks Anna for contributing :)

    Hopefully with the stay at home order and efforts to flatten the curve being successful, the conversation will soon change towards how to get back to more ‘regular life’ and we’ll soon know more about what that will look like.

    I hear you, it’s hard not seeing a clear end to this current reality…

  • ugh April 10, 2020 (8:58 am)

    Puzzled as to how they can close schools for so long and not provide online resources. The middle schools already have Schoology and use it regularly. Why cant they just get it into gear to provide for the kids now? I’m seeing a couple of elementary and middle school teachers providing a small amount of ‘teaching’ but nowhere near what should be done. If I’m working from home, I’m online all day, getting work done. Why should teaching be any different? Open a Zoom meeting and teach! Even half days would be better than one hour here and there. And I dont buy the whole ‘teaching is a partnership between parents and teachers’ that the SPS is spewing. Partnership implies some effort on both sides. Its been weeks, and very little progress has been made. What a mess…

  • James Dodson April 12, 2020 (9:05 am)

    I can’t believe the schools have the guts to take spring break after a month of providing basically no schooling to the kids. I think we’ve had 2-3 spring breaks since the initial closure already and it’s time to provide some actual teaching. Is remote learning/teaching really that difficult to organize? If you’re a good teacher you already have a lesson plan. 

Sorry, comment time is over.