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.