Higher ed institutions prepare for in-person instruction

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday announced recommendations for public and private colleges and universities, who can resume in-person classroom instruction later this summer as long as they follow coronavirus protocols to protect those on campus.

The guidance gives universities, colleges, technical schools and apprenticeship programs options to consider as they prepare for the return of students, as early as Aug. 1, depending on their academic calendar.

Those recommendations include ensuring proper physical distancing, face coverings and limits on classes and gatherings. Each institution must develop plans to meet standards for reopening that comply with federal, state and local health requirements. The guidelines apply regardless of what stage of reopening the county the school is located in.

Statewide, more than 29,800 people have tested positive for the virus and at least 1,293 have died. The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.