Schools, businesses closed to stop the spread of COVID-19
Last updated 4/2/2020 at 5:13pm
All public and private K-12 schools in Washington state will be closed Tuesday, March 17 through April 24, according to Gov. Jay Inslee during a news conference Friday, March 13 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The closure affects 1.2 million students and more than 360,000 teachers.
Schools were required to close by the end of the day Monday, March 16 and remain closed until April 24. The first day students would be back in class would be April 27, although that may not happen if the closure is extended.
"The state has noted that the district's priority this first week of the closure is feeding kids, providing childcare options for our district first responders and health care providers, and discussing plans for access to learning. Access to learning is being redefined daily as we receive guidance from the state. Following that guidance, our administrative team is actively planning and preparing for what the next six weeks will look like," the Snohomish School District's website said. The district said it would have more information available next week about learning during the closure.
"Everett Public Schools educators have and will continue to create learning engagement materials while schools are closed. The materials do not replace the experience of being in school but can help students maintain the learning that has taken place this school year," according to a statement on March 17. The district also listed learning resources online and said how to get printed versions during meal pickup.
On March 16, Inslee signed a proclamation calling for all bars, restaurants, entertainment, and recreational facilities to close due to the outbreak. They are allowed to reopen March 31. Grocery stores and pharmacies were allowed to stay open, and retail stores were allowed to stay open if they reduced their capacity. Restaurants were allowed to do take-out or delivery service only.
Many restaurants pivoted to a take-out and delivery service model, but others had to close their doors completely during the closure. Groups of 50 or more people were also prohibited; groups of less than 50 people were only allowed to go on if they followed certain hygiene and social distancing measures.
"These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease. I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges," Inslee said in a statement. The virus has disrupted other areas of life too. Mill Creek City Hall has restricted public access from March 18 through April 18, and the City canceled the April egg-hunt event, Eggstravaganza, ganza. Mill Creek Library, along with all other Sno-Isle branches, are closed for the foreseeable future. Swedish Mill Creek has suspended most visitors and temporarily stopped all elective inpatient and outpatient surgeries for non-life-threatening and non-urgent care at its hospitals. Many community events have either been canceled or postponed. State Department of Health data as of March 19 listed 1,376 positive cases of COVID-19 and 74 deaths. Snohomish County had 348 positive cases and seven deaths. Check https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus for daily updates.