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Snohomish Health District Media Releases

Posted on: October 20, 2020

Schools in Snohomish County May Continue Limited In-Person Learning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               
October 20, 2020

CONTACT: 
Heather Thomas, 425.508.4980
hthomas@snohd.org

Schools in Snohomish County May Continue Limited In-Person Learning 


SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – With the most recent numbers, Snohomish County is now within the high COVID-19 activity category of more than 75 cases per 100,000 residents in a two-week period. Based on the decision tree for schools, updated by the Washington State Department of Health on October 16, schools may continue limited in-person learning.

Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District, shared the following recommendations with schools today:

  • Continued distance learning is still strongly recommended, with limited in-person learning for younger learners (especially K-3) and high need students (e.g., disabilities, homelessness, farthest from educational justice)
  • In-person learning for older students is discouraged, except high need students, particularly at the current level and trajectory of COVID-19 activity in the community.
  • Strongly recommend canceling or postponing most in-person extracurricular activities, including sports, performances, clubs, events, and such, with the option to allow extracurricular activities in small groups of six or fewer students.

"These recommendations are a ceiling for what’s permissible, but not the floor. Each school and family needs to make decisions on what is best for them,” added Dr. Spitters. “We will continue to monitor case rates, hospitalization impacts, test positivity rates, and trends in cases occurring in schools. These recommendations may be revised if the COVID-19 situation continues to deteriorate in Snohomish County.” 

Examples of factors that would call for greater restrictions affecting in-person education may include increased frequency or difficulty in controlling school-based outbreaks, evidence that schools are amplifying transmission in the community, dwindling acute care hospital capacity, or statewide directives further limiting in-person attendance. The best way to stabilize children’s education and permit a greater return to in-person learning is for the entire community to reverse the current upward trend in COVID transmission.

Snohomish County has flattened the curve before, and we can do it again. It is essential that everyone is consistently:

  • Wearing a mask, even with people you see regularly and in your smallest social circles and anytime you are using shared transportation, including while in your own vehicle with other people.
  • Keeping gatherings small and hold them outside whenever possible.
  • Avoiding any social gatherings indoors, but if you must participate, wearing a mask and ensuring windows and doors are open to maximize ventilation.
  • Washing or sanitizing hands often and not touching your face.
  • Staying home if you’re sick or if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

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