Plans for reopening schools in Snohomish County an afterthought as COVID cases surge

Plans for reopening schools in Snohomish County an afterthought as COVID cases surge

Christian Schwindt, Sports Editor

     In early October, Snohomish County formed a plan to reopen schools before Halloween. However, with the County Health Department reporting an increase in confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Snohomish County this fall season, reopening schools is currently an afterthought. 

     Snohomish County Health Department is calling for reopening plans to halt due to the fall surge of infections. “We are asking all schools to hold where they currently are,” said health district administrator Shawn Frederick to Stanwood Camano News.

     Frederick’s recommendation for Snohomish County reflects a larger Covid-19 trend. On Tuesday October 20, Governor Jay Inslee held a news conference announcing new restrictions in response to Covid-19 outbreaks at college campuses around Washington State. “We look at the numbers every single day. And we’re going to make the best decisions we can,” said Governor Inslee. A sharp trend of Covid-19 cases upward in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties sparked these restrictions.

    Snohomish County Officials worry about the looming implications. In October, King 5 News reported before the Fall, ICU beds were already at 80% capacity. Snohomish health district officials report about 50-70 new cases every day, and about 20 new hospital patients daily. County’s Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters fears what the impact of a fall or winter surge could be like. “We could end up back where we were last March,” said Dr. Spitters.

     Northshore School District covers both King and Snohomish county. With this school district covering two areas with Covid-19 cases on the rise, the district superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid announced that schools will continue to do remote learning until further notice. “Due to the COVID surge in our region, we will maintain our Stage 2 learning model status until further notice,” said Dr. Reid in her Weekly Covid Update email. 

     With a fall surge currently underway and a potential winter surge soon to follow, Snohomish County and King County school districts are not planning to open schools until COVID-19 cases decrease. However, Frederick says there is still hope to control the spread. “If we limit social gatherings, and mask up and practice good social distancing… we absolutely have the ability to control this with our individual efforts,” said Frederick.