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CORONAVIRUS: Schools not closing yet, say Public Health officials

All large events and field trips cancelled; sports continue; high-risk people cautioned

Elliot Armitage, A&E Editor
Originally published March 6th, 2020


As of March 5, Seattle Schools will not close schools due to coronavirus, according to a press release from the District. Currently, King County Public Health recommends that schools stay open, and is releasing updates on a day-to-day basis. 

Public Health also recommended, but did not require, that “people who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 stay home and away from large groups of people.” People at higher risk include “those who are 60 years and older; people who are pregnant; people with weakened/compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.”

Principal Keven Wynkoop instructed teachers to prepare for school to be cancelled in an email sent out on March 6. “To me, it seems like only a matter of time until school is cancelled for either a short or an extended amount of time,” said Wynkoop.

Wynkoop also advised teachers to prepare for offering “instruction” through Schoology. “Each time you go home, I encourage you to take your laptop and whatever resources you would need to make this happen.” While teachers have never used schoology to “instruct” for extended periods of time, Wynkoop expects the district to release more details if that happens. 

According to state law, school must be in session for 180 days each year. However, if school is cancelled due to coronavirus, the district may submit a waiver to the state, meaning that the missed days would not have to be made up. If school is cancelled statewide, it will not have to be made up.

No matter the scenario, it is unlikely that school will be scheduled any later than June, but the district is currently releasing updates on a day-to-day basis and no long-term predictions have been released.

All large, school and district-sponsored community events after March 8 have been cancelled, and all out-of-state and international school-sponsored travel has been postponed through the end of the school year. 

In an email to all district staff, the Office of Public Affairs advised people who have traveled to one of the “level 3 countries,” which are Italy, China, Iran and South Korea, to self-quarantine for 14 days. This recommendation follows the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you stay home, or are sent home from school due to showing symptoms of illness, your absence will be excused, as per district policy detailed in the coronavirus FAQ on their website. The Talisman recommends that all students take extra precaution during this time.

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CORONAVIRUS: Schools not closing yet, say Public Health officials