Gov. Inslee will sign emergency proclamation that schools must offer remote, in-person learning options

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee plans to issue an emergency proclamation early next week on the reopening of schools in the state.

This prohibits all school districts from failing to offer all K-12 students the opportunity to engage in both remote and in-person instruction, otherwise known as a hybrid model of K-12 instruction, according to Inslee’s office.

During a Friday news conference, Inslee outlined a plan and timeline for schools:

  • By April 5, all K-6 students must be provided with an opportunity to engage in a hybrid model of instruction.
  • By April 19, all K-12 students must be provided with an opportunity to engage in a hybrid model of instruction.
  • Frequency of in-person instruction: By April 19, all school districts must meet at least 30% of average weekly instructional hours as on-campus, in-person instruction for all K-12 students. In addition, under no circumstances may a student be offered less than two days (which may be two partial days) of on-campus, in-person instruction per week.
  • All school districts must continue to work to exceed the 30% minimum instructional hours, and must reach the school’s maximum capacity and maximum frequency of on-campus, in-person instruction that the school can provide, when all health and safety recommendations are applied, as soon as possible.

“We are doing this because we have experienced a mental health crisis for many of our children, and this will provide them an option that suits their needs of their families,” Inslee said.

With in-person learning, schools must comply with the Department of Health’s guidance as well as LNI requirements for employee safety as dictated by the School Employer Health and Safety Requirements.

Inslee also estimates schools in our state will have received $2.6 billion in federal pandemic relief from the American Rescue Plan Act.

He will also encourage the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to use some of those funds to go to mental health aid for students with counselors, nurses and other support workers.

The state superintendent said 35 district, including Seattle, failed to submit adequate return to in-person learning plans and therefore have not received any of the second round of federal funding the state received to disperse to districts.

Seattle Public Schools released this statement Friday afternoon:

Seattle Public Schools has been working to bring back our students, beginning with our most vulnerable, for in-person instruction: students receiving special education services and preschool students.

We are in active negotiations with the Seattle Education Association for a safe and successful return. We have a plan and have been on track in partnership with SEA to come to an agreement that would return these students beginning on March 29.

The governor’s proclamation and details will be released on Monday. We will need time to analyze the details of the proclamation and determine the impacts for our students, families, and staff.

Saturday marks one year since all schools in Washington closed down.