On Friday, Governor Jay Inslee ordered the closing of all public schools in Washington until April 24.
The Quincy School District’s last day will be Monday, Superintendent John Boyd said. The district met with its crisis pandemic team and principals on Friday. All of the staff were then informed about next steps by the principals on Monday.
“Lots of unanswered questions I wish I could answer each individual person’s questions,” Boyd said. “And it is going to be kind of a drip, drip of information that comes out.”
The school’s crisis pandemic team consists of about a dozen people with different jobs and leadership positions around the school district to coordinate its response, he said.
The schools will open again on April 27 at the earliest, he said. In the meantime, the district will provide free meals at four locations around Quincy.
The school district will not be attempting any kind of virtual learning, Boyd said. The district is concerned about equity issues, because not all students have access to Wi-Fi. Teachers also don’t have the resources to provide that level of education.
It is unclear whether school districts will remain open longer in the summer or what will be done to compensate for the lost education time, he said.
Quincy was one of the first cities in Eastern Washington to receive a positive case of COVID-19. The patient, a man in his 80s, died on March 7 from the virus.
Despite the positive case, Quincy School District never closed its doors, unlike other school districts that closed temporarily when hearing about a possible case before results even came back. The man in his 80s also attended a production of Mary Poppins at the high school’s performing arts center while potentially infectious.
Boyd said that the Grant County Health District was not advising the school to close its doors. It was concerned about the impact a closure could have on families.
“(Closing the schools) impacts families that maybe work for the health department, that work for the hospitals, (and) that work for doctor’s offices,” Boyd said. “They count on those students being cared for in the schools so they can go to work and do their jobs.”