Schools told to ready plans amidst coronavirus shutdown

A look at virus-related developments in Washington:


Schools across Washington have been closed due to the coronavirus, but beginning next week authorities say they should be ready to teach again. State Superintendent Chris Reykdal told reporters Thursday that “our expectation is by Monday they have plans in place.” Starting April 6, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will start gathering data from districts on what those plans are and how they’ll be implemented. It also will gather data on how districts are addressing food distribution and child care. “Doing nothing is not an option,” Reykdal said. The News Tribune reports there are still equity concerns among districts for students who might not have access to online learning materials. Reykdal shares that concern. “Do not let the risk of not serving them now be a reason why you don’t do anything,” he told districts.


In Washington state, there have been more than 145 coronavirus deaths and more than 3,200 confirmed cases. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.


Workers at the KeyArena construction site will be back on the job Monday, said Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Oak View Group, the company leading the $930 million arena renovation of the stadium into a much larger arena for Seattle’s new National Hockey League team. The Seattle Times reports that spokespeople for the governor and the Department of Commerce twice this week specifically called out KeyArena as a noncritical project that would not continue under the stay-at-home order. But Leiweke pointed to exemptions in the order that he said will allow work to continue Monday. And the city, which is financing the project, has given its blessing for construction to go on so long as the contractor ensures workers maintain six feet of social distance and sanitizes their shared tools and workspaces, Ernie Aprezo, a spokesperson for Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office, said in an email.