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Response to Gov. Inslee's Nov. 15 Announcement

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The following statement is WEA President Larry Delaney's response to Gov. Inslee's Nov. 15 announcement of new restrictions and shutdowns for restaurants, theaters, gyms and all indoor gatherings in an effort to slow the state's burgeoning coronavirus epidemic.

By now, most of you have probably heard the announcement made today by Gov. Inslee. The governor did announce new statewide closures and restrictions; however, it must be noted that none of the new restrictions directly impact our public schools.

From the onset of the pandemic last March, WEA's top priority has been the health and safety of educators, students, families and communities. That has not changed.

It is important to note that Gov. Inslee did remind Washingtonians that the current school reopening decision tree will remain in place, and where local superintendents and school boards choose to not follow the current school reopening recommendations -- including looking at current trends with the rate of infection -- WEA will continue to work with local leaders and members to advocate for, and organize around, a safe reopening. In addition, WEA will continue to work on behalf of all educators in Washington as we have open and honest conversations with the governor, the Department of Health, the Department of Labor and Industries, and OSPI, and share the real stories and experiences that so many of you have shared with me.

It is clear that the next few weeks are going to be critical in our fight against this virus. It is also clear that the time to look at expanding the reopening of schools is not when the number of COVID cases in Washington is at an all-time high. If all Washingtonians can adhere to the health and safety guidance that is in place I am hopeful that we will be able to return to in-person education sooner rather than later.

WEA Vice President Janie White and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all educators whether whether working in-person or from a distance. Your dedication, professionalism, and creativity continue to be an inspiration, and Janie and I pledge to continue to work on a daily basis to ensure your safety and security.

Stay safe, be well, mask up, and forward together.

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