Health Officer Recommends K‑6 Return To School
Posted February 4, 2021 at 5:30 am by Hayley Day
Frank James MD, health officer for San Juan County, sent this open letter to county schools on Jan. 30.
I am recommending that schools consider opening grades K to 6 for in-person education.
The Washington state metric for opening in-person education has not been met due to high rates of infection in our four-county region, however, it is appropriate to start the opening process.
As you are aware, an incremental approach starting with the lower grades is prudent. This allows for steadily increasing experience with having children and staff in the buildings and time to perfect safety and health protocols that will allow schools to move forward in a thoughtful and careful manner.
All schools may not be ready to move forward. Policies and procedures may not yet be in place, adequate staffing may not be available, or it may be impossible to adequately distance students into smaller groups. It is certainly possible there may be other factors limiting a school’s ability to open safely as well.
Please note that this is NOT a mandate to open schools, especially if these essential precautions are not yet in place.
With regard to athletics, I do not believe it is safe to conduct ANY indoor sports at this time. I do believe that it is safe to conduct low and medium risk sports, outdoors only. Full guidance for sport risk groups and other
additional safety requirements are in the governor’s January 2021 guidance. Please note that San Juan County is currently in Phase 1.
Please also note that though the governor’s guidance allows for indoor sports in some situations, I do not believe it is safe to do so at this time.
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