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  • Harlan Gallinger, MD

Our Students, Families, & Staff deserve to know what Key Indicators will trigger in-person learning!

School districts across King County have elected to begin the school year 100% remote. What has not been discussed publicly, is what the state-mandated or public health mandated criteria will be for a school district to consider transition to some form of in-person learning. I have promoted a staged reopening since last April in an email to OSPI Superintendent Chris Reykdal (which I shared in my first blog post in May 2020 below), with the focus on students farthest from educational justice.


We have been advocating with State of Washington Department of Health leaders for months to no avail and now with King County executive staff, Councilmembers, and Public Health Seattle & King County leaders to provide school districts the guidance we need to identify: (1) what metrics must be met to reopen to any in-person learning, (2) guidance for how we open in stages i.e. 21 days or something else?, and (3) how we respond to the inevitable positive cases that will occur with in-person learning.


I have pasted an excerpt from the State of Oregon plan with the metrics released this week, as well as the link to the whole plan. I would not necessarily advocate for these metrics because our population density is quite different from Oregon, but I do appreciate the leadership provided in Oregon with the public release of metrics and the prioritization of serving students kindergarten through third grade.


I think if Washington state education and public health leaders would take some initiative, this would provide everyone some common understanding for what the community/county transmission rates need to be at before moving from 100% remote. I would advocate for a mix of county and district metrics because it would give our communities something to shoot for and likely change behaviors that would result in decreased transmission which would allow younger students to attend in-person learning, older students to participate in sports and after school activities, and be safer for everyone in our community.


Where you have influence at the county and state levels, please consider advocating for these metrics to be identified and provided as soon as possible. My worry is that these folks will drag their feet even more, now that most schools districts have announced a 100% remote opening, but now more than ever is when families and communities need to know what key indicators must be met.


https://www.oregon.gov/ode/students-and-family/healthsafety/Documents/Ready%20Schools%20Safe%20Learners%202020-21%20Guidance.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery


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