On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee issued a proclamation that outlines the state’s plan to possibly re-open schools in the fall for the 2020-2021 school year. The plan follows the state’s Safe Start phased approach to reopening on a county-by-county basis.
Inslee said in the proclamation that “until there is an effective vaccine, effective treatment or herd immunity” schools will implement and require personal protective behaviors set forth in the K-12 Summer 2020 Services During the COVID-19 Outbreak and the COVID-19 School Worksite K-12 Fall 2020 Services guidance documents”.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal unveiled the Reopening Washington Schools 2020 Planning Guide authorized under the proclamation.
In the document it states that all students, staff, volunteers, and guests must wear cloth face coverings or face shields in K-12 settings.
In addition, no students, staff, vendors, parents and guardians, or guests will be allowed on-site if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact.
Staff and students will be checked for signs of illness at entry each day and physical distancing ( within each group of students as much as possible, adding that “Not all strategies will be feasible for all schools”.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction added that given the social distancing requirements and varying conditions of school buildings statewide, school leaders recognize that a ‘one size fits all’ model will not work. Instead, in partnership with their students, staff, families, and local health departments, school districts will create a schedule that works best for their school community.
Earlier this year, Gov. Inslee announced the statewide closure of all schools due to the developing COVID-19 pandemic. Those closures were later extended through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.