HomeSchool Reform NewsMore Washington Classrooms Could Reopen Under Revised State Guidelines, Documents Show

More Washington Classrooms Could Reopen Under Revised State Guidelines, Documents Show

By Tim Gruver

A recent draft revision of Washington public health guidelines for schools could reopen more classrooms if implemented.

Guidelines laid out in the Decision Tree from the Washington Department of Health (DOH) currently recommend schools reopen if their counties report 75 or fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks straight.

According to a November 6 presentation obtained by the Seattle Times and submitted to Gov. Jay Inslee, the state could shift that threshold to 200 cases per 100,000 people.

Under the proposed criteria, schools could begin conducting onsite instruction first for elementary-aged students before moving onto middle and high school.

The drafted revision cites “emerging evidence” from the Institute of Disease Modeling which suggests schools are “not significant drivers of transmission.”

That claim echoes sentiments from epidemiologist Dr. Christopher Spitters who said during a press conference two weeks ago that young children appear to be less efficient transmitters of COVID-19.

Unlike other state school health metrics, Washington’s school health guidelines cannot legally obligate schools to follow them.

Dozens of school districts around the state, from Seattle to Yakima, have been voluntarily holding remote classes since September.

The Seattle Times estimates that, if given the go-ahead, as many as 150 school districts could begin in-person learning compared to 32 that are doing so now.

In the meantime, Washington’s Department of Education has not indicated whether the revised guidelines will be officially issued.

Washington boasts 294 school districts serving more than one million students.

On Tuesday, the DOH reported a record 3,482 new reported cases of COVID-19 and 35 new reported deaths.

The state has now seen 151,019 cases to date and 2,690 deaths.


Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.

Tim Gruver
Tim Gruver
Tim Gruver is a politics and public policy reporter. He is a University of Washington alum and the recipient of the 2017 Pioneer News Award for Reporting. His work has appeared in Politico, the Kitsap Daily News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly.


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