Gov. Jay Inslee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal today announced the extension of school closures for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The order keeps both public and private schools closed in accordance with the governor's original order on March 13.
The governor's proclamation prohibits in-person instruction through June 19, with exceptions for students with disabilities and English language learners for whom distance learning would present challenges. Facilities remain accessible for limited use, including providing child care and packing take-home meals for students' families to pick up. All activities must follow Department of Health social distancing guidelines.
"This closure is guided by science and is our greatest opportunity to keep our kids, educators and communities safe," Inslee said at a news conference Monday afternoon. "If there is any opportunity to bring students back for a few days, including graduation ceremonies for our seniors, we will continue to explore that option. That opportunity will be guided by our collective behavior and the success we can achieve with the choices we make today."
Inslee said students' grades will not suffer as a result of the closure and encouraged them to take advantage of remaining learning opportunities. The governor also asked teachers and administrators to work together on the best path forward for the remainder of the school year.
“There is no question about it: Our educators and school staff are absolutely dedicated to continuing to provide supports for students and their learning,” Reykdal said. “We have already seen districts step up to provide meals for students in need and child care for the children of essential workers. Over the past three weeks, they have prepared for and begun providing continuous learning for students – and this will only get better and more sophisticated over time. We will continue serving our students and we will persevere through this.”