OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee announced at a March 13 press conference that he is ordering all K-12 schools in Washington state to close through at least April 24, beginning March 17.
Just a day prior, Inslee mandated via executive order that all school districts in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties — the counties that make up almost 90% of all COVID-19 cases in the state — must close its doors by March 17.
Inslee had also previously banned gatherings of 250 or more people in those three counties, but announced at the March 13 press conference that that order was being expanded to all of the state's 39 counties.
OBSD closed beginning March 16
Ocean Beach School District Superintendent Amy Huntley told the Chinook Observer that she was waiting for the conclusion of Inslee’s press conference this afternoon to make final arrangements for the school district’s contingency plan in the case of a closure. She clarified that all OBSD schools will close beginning on Monday, March 16, saying there was no reason to hold classes on Monday only to close on Tuesday
Among other things, the contingency plan will address the school district’s efforts to continue to provide meals to students and families that need them. Of the 1,058 students attending OBSD at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, 66.6% qualified for free or reduced lunch.
“During the closure, we will be working to support families with food insecurity and with crucial childcare,” OBSD said in a news release on March 13 following Inslee’s press conference. “Next week the district will be working on plans for food and curriculum deliveries by bus route.”
OBSD said that it is asking all families that would like to have school meals delivered to their bus stop during the closure to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the names and grades of their students.
Elementary school students are also being sent home with a flyer on March 13 that asks for families to let OBSD know if the lack of childcare would cause them to possibly lose employment. The news release said that the school district is working on contingency plans to provide childcare “for those who most need it.”
“We know that this is a huge change and a hardship,” the news release said. “We have been asked to pull together to help prevent the spread of this virus.”
Information from OBSD will be sent out via email, its Facebook page (Ocean Beach School District) and Bloomz when meal deliveries, curriculum deliveries and possible childcare will begin.
Naselle-Grays River to close March 17
In a letter to parents, Naselle-Grays River Valley School District Superintendent Lisa Nelson announced that the district will close beginning Tuesday, March 17.
Nelson said that food will be distributed throughout the closure for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch. The district will notify families about the locations and distribution times in the coming days.
The school year will also be extended to June 19, allowing for five make-up days. Nelson clarified that graduation dates will not be impacted by the closure.
The school district will provide information via naselleschools.org, its Facebook page (Naselle-Grays River Valley School District) and the district’s callout phone system.
The Observer will have more details in the coming days.