For immediate release: December 16, 2020 (20-251)
Media contact: Ginny Streeter, Communications, 360-810-1628
Public inquiries: State COVID-19 Assistance Hotline, 1-800-525-0127
A new back-to-school plan: State releases updated guidance around in-person learning
Today the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released updated metrics to help local leaders and school officials make decisions about in-person learning and the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the school environment.
Changes to the metrics include revisions to the COVID-19 incidence rates to consider when making decisions about who to prioritize for in-person learning. We’ve also included further clarification that local leaders also should consider test positivity and trends in cases and hospitalizations to inform decisions about expansion of in-person learning
“The changes to our school metrics are based on emerging research and data gathered by state and national health education officials and the early experiences of schools in Washington state and the nation,” said Deputy Secretary of Health for COVID-19 Response Lacy Fehrenbach. “The changes recognize with robust health and safety measures in place, transmission in the school setting appears to be limited.”
“Today we are taking a step forward in getting school children back in the classroom,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “The science has shown, and our school officials have proven that with diligent focus on health and safety measures, it is possible to bring children back to the classroom while also protecting our students, staff and community from further transmission of COVID-19.”
In addition to the updated metrics, DOH announced an increased focus on the health and safety measures that are required by law for the provision of any in-person learning in private or public K-12 schools. Some of those measures include:
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