Governor announces changes to pandemic guidance

Pandemic guidance changes announced Dec. 16
Posted on 12/16/2020

The following message was sent to Tahoma School District families and staff Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16:

Today Gov. Jay Inslee announced changes to the Washington State Department of Health Decision Tree, which guides school districts in making decisions about operating during the pandemic. The adjustments are designed to allow the phased return of students to buildings, beginning with the youngest students and those in need of special services. We’re writing to let you know that we are excited about these changes and the opportunity to speed up our return to classrooms.

From the start of the pandemic, our school district has relied on advice and expertise from public health authorities to help guide decisions that we make to provide for the safety of students and staff. We will continue to seek that guidance as we make plans to bring students back to school. 

The new Department of Health guidelines state that districts may bring back additional students for in-person learning even with higher rates of COVID-19 transmission, as long as health and safety protocols can be successfully followed. These include wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, good handwashing and hygiene, enhanced cleaning and ventilation, increased access to testing, and thorough contact tracing.

During today’s press conference, when a reporter asked Inslee why this decision couldn’t have been made earlier, he responded that it was critical to review multiple studies and sources of data, and noted that some districts and private schools have been operating safely.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support. Together, we will continue to provide our students with the learning tools and experiences they need to be successful. We are reviewing the changes announced today and will provide another update soon.

In partnership,

Mike Hanson


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