Gov. Jay Inslee has closed all public and private K–12 schools in Washington for the rest of the 2019–20 school year.
Inslee made the announcement during an online press conference Monday afternoon. The closure extends the one the governor made in mid-March that closed schools through April 24.
To children who will miss the rest of the school year, Inslee quoted Fred Rogers of the iconic television program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”:
“Everyone has lot of ways of feeling and all those ways of feeling are fine. It’s what we do with our feelings that matter.”
“I want you to know that we’re going to get through this. We look forward to your bright futures,” Inslee added.
The governor also said there has been talk about limited chances to bring students back together, including for high school seniors to graduate as a group.
“Stay home, stay healthy. Wash your hands,” Inslee said.
The governor said the rise of COVID-19 cases continues to grow in Washington, and the state has not yet hit the peak.
“We don’t know where that peak is,” Inslee added.
“This is a tough day for us in Washington state,” said State Superintendent Chris Reykdal.
Reykdal said the state is already contemplating how school will return next year, and how the nature of teaching will change.
“It does call into question this fall,” he added.
“This is a big moment for us to transform,” Reykdal said.
More than 1.2 million students in Washington will be impacted by the closure of schools, officials said, adding that more than 80,000 seniors may have attended their last in-person high school class without knowing it.