‘This can be done safely’: Gov. Inslee advocates for more in-person learning during visit to Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash.– Governor Jay Inslee is ready to get your kids back in a classroom.

He was reassured of that after a Tuesday visit to Stevens Elementary in Spokane.

“They teach lessons in these schools, and the lesson I’ve taken is this can be done safely if we work together,” Gov. Inslee said.

It’s up to each district to decide how they’ll phase students back in.

At Stevens Elementary, students have been learning in class for weeks and months while avoiding COVID-19 outbreaks.

“We’ve had extremely minimal in-school transmission, because what we’ve learned, which we didn’t know a year ago, is that we can get students to wear masks,” Gov. Inslee said. “We can get hybrid systems where we have more space between students.”

All elementary school kids are now back in Spokane Public Schools, and middle and high school students are headed back to the classroom on March 1 for some hybrid learning.

Parents continue to have the choice to keep their kids learning at home if they don’t feel it’s safe enough.

“What we’re seeing here at Stevens is a very win-win situation,” Gov. Inslee said.

Many teachers across the nation are concerned about not being vaccinated yet as students return to their classrooms.

But, Inslee said teachers have proven how creative they can get to make sure the learning is safe.

He said his four grandkids returned to in-person learning last week, proving how safe he thinks this is.

“So, I have something I care very deeply about in this, and I would not ever send my grandkids into a situation that is not safe,” Gov. Inslee said.

Inslee said teachers are a priority to get vaccinated soon, but the state has to get through older people first.

“Those teacher’s parents, grandparents; we got to get those people first,” Gov. Inslee said. “The next group is the second priority… I can’t wait to get educators vaccinated.”

Last week, the state superintendent said Washington schools will not get federal COVID-19 funding if they don’t have students back in some capacity.

Right now, about 40 percent of students in the state are back in some form.

But, the state’s biggest district over in Seattle still does not have a firm plan to bring kids back.

They’re negotiating with the teachers union on that.

READ: Spokane Public Schools shares what class will look like for 7th and 8th graders

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