COVID-19 Updates for Schools and Parents
As the start of the 2020-21 school year approaches, parents and guardians of school-age children have been hit again with one of the ongoing, growing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic: remote learning is recommended to start the school year.
The challenges presented by COVID-19 also are being felt keenly by child care providers who must adapt to new health and safety measures, and by families who cannot keep children home from child care.
The Health District does recommend remote learning to start the coming school year, as well as continuing to keep children home from child care when it is possible to do so. These are important for fighting the COVID pandemic, but we also know that these recommendations create hardship.
The Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Department of Health also have released a framework for schools to use when making decisions about reopening. It is line with the local recommendation. Schools in areas with high transmission are encouraged to offer remote learning with potential for limited, small group in-person instruction for high-need students.
More than 75 cases per 100,000 population is considered high transmission under the statewide framework, and Snohomish County is at nearly 100 cases per 100,000. Getting case rates down to between 25 and 75 cases per 100,000 could allow for more flexibility, such as in-person instruction for younger age groups and remote or hybrid options for older students. Additional in-person learning options could be explored once case rates drop below 25 per 100,000.
“Returning to in-person learning together with the ancillary services, social supports and other enhancing activities that come along with in-person education is a goal that is shared by the Health District,” Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters wrote in his recommendation to schools, sent July 29. “Yet, the reality of an attempt at in-person learning in the current situation would likely fall far short of that ideal and may come at an unacceptable cost in human health and further disruption of the learning environment.”
Many people have shared concerns and questions about schools and child care. We aimed to address some of those in a recent blog post found here. Please know that decisions around schools and child care are not made lightly, nor are they made without consulting others. The Health District continues to work with our public health partners throughout the state, the county’s Department of Emergency Management, and schools and child cares in Snohomish County.