Gov. Jay Inslee today signed an emergency proclamation prohibiting all public K-12 schools in Washington from failing to provide opportunities in both remote instruction and on-campus, in-person instruction. The proclamation aims to address the alarming educational inequities and mental health concerns among students as a result of prolonged remote education.
“This has been a long year for our state’s students and their families. They have lived with fear and uncertainty,” Inslee said during a press conference Friday. “The youth mental health crisis has become significantly worse during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is time to provide an in-person learning option to help students that need it.”
Under the proclamation, schools will be allowed to stagger the reintroduction of students to campus. Schools will be expected to provide an in-person learning option that equates to at least 30% of instructional time by two key deadlines:
- April 5: All students in kindergarten through fifth or sixth grade (depending on the school district) must be offered a hybrid option.
- April 19: All remaining K-12 students must be offered a hybrid option.
In addition, schools must offer students at least two days per week of on-campus, in-person instruction.
As schools open, they must adhere to physical distancing, masking and environmental cleaning requirements set out by the state Department of Health (DOH) and worker safety requirements issued by the state Department of Labor and Industries.
The proclamation also orders the state Health Care Authority and DOH to immediately begin work on recommendations on how to support the behavioral health needs of our children and youth over the next six to 12 months, and to address and triage the full spectrum of rising pediatric behavioral health needs.
Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.
Find the full proclamation here.