Inslee announces statewide school closures, limits visitors to adult family homes

To further slow the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday announced his intention to sign several executive orders to expand statewide closures of schools, limit large gatherings and expand protocols for adult family homes. Inslee earlier this weekend had announced closure of schools and a ban on large gathers in only three counties — King, Pierce and Snohomish.

Inslee expanded his order to close all K-12 public and private schools. Every district throughout the state of Washington will close for the next six weeks.

Schools will close from 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 17 through noon Friday, April 24. The timing will coincide with spring break for most Washington school districts.

Under this order, schools must close and end classes by end of day this Monday. The first possible weekday back will be April 27.

On Thursday, Inslee announced closures in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties.

“Just as with King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties, there are critical services our schools provide that will need to continue during closures,” Inslee said. “That includes nutrition and child care. This will need to be addressed throughout the state of Washington. I urge labor and management to work together in the best interest of kids. This is not a vacation, work may look different but the expectation is that school employees will still be working.”

Inslee also announced activity restrictions for all statewide public and private universities, colleges, community colleges and technical schools, private career schools and apprenticeship training programs.

The impacted dates for these activity restrictions will be Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, April 24.

School labs and clinics may continue if social distancing is imposed and a person is designated to ensure implementation, or if appropriate clinical protocols are followed. The continued core functions of these higher education institutions — including administration, safety, dorms, food service, research and medical clinics — are not impacted by the proclamation.

In addition, the governor announced two further executive orders expanding on orders from earlier this week. The first extends the ban on events of 250 or larger beyond the Puget Sound region to the entire state. The events that are prohibited are gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational activities including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers; and similar activities.

Expansion of protocols and restrictions to protect older adults

On Tuesday, Inslee enacted restrictions on visitors and protocols to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Friday, the governor expanded this order to include adult family homes and waived certain statutory requirements for long-term care workers. Visitors must be adults and the visit must take place in the resident’s room. This does not apply to end-of-life situations. In addition, all visitors must follow COVID-19 screening and follow reasonable precautionary measures. Precautionary measures include, but are not limited to, wearing personal protective equipment, social distancing, or visiting in designated locations.

For the latest COVID-19 health information, statistics, and guidance, visit the Washington State Department of Health website.

For all other state resources relates to COVID-19, visit the governor’s coronavirus page.

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