King County health officer: Still a chance schools could resume in person in 2020

Aug 31, 2020, 12:51 PM

coronavirus school closures, woodmoor elementary, schools...

Woodmoor Elementary School. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

With schools resuming virtually in September, is there a chance students would return to class in person by the end of 2020? Seattle-King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin weighed in on KIRO Radio’s COVID-19 podcast with some insight into what that timeline might look like.

“I think the Washington state guidelines are reasonable guidelines for when we should consider bringing kids back for in-person learning,” Dr. Duchin said.

Under the state’s guidelines, the benchmark to meet is under 75 cases per every 100,00 people over a 14-day period for bringing back kids in “suffering the greatest amount of educational, behavioral, and medical consequences from being out of school.”

“So the youngest learners, kids who have special needs, children who need psychological support and other counseling and /or physical therapy at school,” Duchin described. “Starting with those young kids and then increasing the ages as possible if it remains safe and the school’s able to operate would be a reasonable thing to do.”

Districts’ plans for reopening schools across Western Washington

The ability to bring back those students will vary county to county based on how regions are coping with their respective COVID-19 outbreaks. That means “doing the right thing together as a community” and avoiding close contact with others, poorly-ventilated indoor space, and wearing masks “constantly.”

“We need to take small steps, evaluate, reassess, readjust if necessary, and move forward if we’re able to safely,” Duchin advised.

In King County, that will have most students attending classes virtually in September. As for whether that situation could move in a positive direction before the end of the year.

“I think so,” Duchin predicted.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave Ross

forever chemicals living defensively...

Dave Ross

Ross: Living defensively has its limits when facing ‘forever chemicals’

The trouble is that "living defensively" has its limits – as we heard when 3M lost control of its "forever chemicals."

3 days ago

Image: In this photo illustration, the logos of social media applications Instagram, Facebook, Link...

Dave Ross

Ross: If you hope the government will save kids from social media, think again

Social media firm TikTok must sell itself to a non-Chinese company, or it goes dark in the U.S. But that law is headed straight to court.

5 days ago

kristi noem book...

Dave Ross

Ross: Gov. Kristi Noem’s new book includes alleged meetings with dictators, dead dogs

Did South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as she claims in her new book?

20 days ago

Image: Sound Transit tested train service on the 2 Line between southern Bellevue and Microsoft for...

Dave Ross

Ross: We built it, and they had better come

About 17,500 people attended the opening of the Eastside light rail line. It shows a curiosity about getting to Redmond without driving there.

24 days ago

Photo: A pro-Palestinian demonstration takes place outside the link light rail station at the Unive...

Dave Ross

Ross: Does the right to protest outweigh the right to learn?

When does a protest cross the line? I can answer that. When it devolves into violence, obviously it crosses a line.

26 days ago

privacy pods...

Dave Ross

Ross: Tracking employees’ vital signs at work via privacy pods, what could go wrong?

I saw a Bloomberg story about the latest innovation to reduce your stress level at work: Privacy pods.

2 months ago

King County health officer: Still a chance schools could resume in person in 2020