New School and Long-Term Care Guidance

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Governor Inslee announced new guidance for returning to school this fall as well as guidance for visiting long-term care facilities.

Guidance for 2020-2021 School Year

On August 5, Gov. Inslee announced new recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health for resuming in-person instruction in public and private K-12 education for the upcoming 2020–2021 school year. Inslee was joined by Chris Reykdal, state Superintendent of Public Instruction at a press conference.

Similar to the state’s county-by-county phased approach to reopening, the plan allows local health departments and school districts decide if and how they will allow students back in the classroom.

Counties have been grouped into three categories – High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Low Risk based on the number of cases per 100,000 residents over 2-week period.

  • For High Risk (more than 75 new cases per 100k residents), the state (a) strongly recommend distance learning, and (b) strongly recommend canceling or postponing all in person extracurricular activities.
  • For Moderate Risk (more than 25 new cases per 100k residents), the state (a) recommend distance learning – middle/high school, (b) possible in-person learning options for elementary, and (c) strongly recommend canceling or postponing all in person extracurricular activities.
  • For Low Risk (fewer than 25 new cases per 100k residents – just 5 counties), the state (a) encourage hybrid in-person and distance model for middle/high school, and (b) full-time in-person learning for elementary.

Additional for the 2020-2021 school year includes that all in-person instruction should be able to implement state recommendation and health requirements that protect staff and students like physical distancing measures, hygiene and cleaning measures, daily screenings, etc.

To help low income families, the state is providing $8.8M of CARES Act funding to purchase internet plans and other technology needs.

For more information, click here.

Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities

On August 6, Gov. Inslee announced guidance that allows long-term care facilities to offer visitation and other activities. Many long-term care facilities were forced to curtail social activities for residents and visitors earlier this year due to COVID-19.

The plan goes into effect August 12, and even after it becomes effective, individual facilities must meet additional parameters before re-opening. The graduated restart plan for long-term care will give providers, residents and families direction for resuming normal activities, like visitation. The plan includes a number of public health metrics that must be met in order for facilities to move through the phases. It is modeled after the Safe Start plan.

  • Facilities in Phase 1 are can only allow window, remote, or outdoor visits (except compassionate care visits).
  • Facilities in Phase 2 are able to allow the same activities, with the addition of limited indoor visits for those residents unable to participate in virtual or outdoor visits.
  • Facilities in Phase 3 may include all activities allowed in Phase 2, but limited indoor visits are extended to all residents.
  • Normal visitation is not reinstated until Phase 4 of the long-term care plan. See the image below for more inormation.

For more information about the guidance for long-term care facilities and visitors, click here.

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