All Washington K-12 schools will be closed starting Tuesday, March 17, through at least Friday, April 24. Governor Jay Inslee made the announcement in a press conference today, March 13 at 1:30 pm. This announcement closely followed President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency. Inslee believes that closing schools anywhere from eight to 20 weeks will help stop the spread of the virus. The State Education Department will waive all days that cannot be made up past June 19. Students will attend school as usual on Monday, March 16.
According to the Seattle Times, “A bill the state Legislature passed Thursday permits the state board of education to grant flexibility on credit requirements for high-school students who were on track to graduate before their schools closed.” Inslee stated that standardized tests scheduled for this spring will be suspended until further notice. According to Wenatchee High School Principal, Eric Andreson, all school-based activities including sports and clubs will be canceled until April 24. These closures will affect all part-time and hourly workers such as bus drivers, paraeducators, and substitute teachers along with students who rely on social services provided by the school. Washington state has received a waiver from the federal government in order to allow them to continue to supply food to students and their families. Additionally, The Seattle Times also reported that “The U.S. Department of Education says schools do not have to provide services to students with disabilities.”
Wenatchee Valley College also announced that they will be moving to an online campus for the spring quarter, which will begin on April 13. Procedures for labs and Physical Education classes have yet to be determined. Furthermore, Inslee expanded restrictions on meetings of over 250 to the whole state. Inslee turned to Twitter saying, “The COVID-19 outbreak is evolving quickly. We are not waiting to take the measures needed to contain it.”