Dear friends and neighbors:

As a result of Gov. Inslee’s actions last week, we’re pretty close to reopening our schools—and that’s a tribute to your hard work as much as anyone’s. I’ve been advocating for months for getting kids back into schools. I give the governor credit for listening and adjusting his timetable, even if I had hoped it had been sooner. But I don’t think we would have gotten to this point without your strong grassroots efforts to make the case that we could reopen swiftly and safely. At the risk of tapping an overused expression, sometimes it really does take a village.

Students from Tahoma, Snoqualmie Valley, Enumclaw and Issaquah school districts are all currently moving faster than the minimums set by the governor, and I applaud them for their efforts. And while a great deal of our hardworking teachers have received their first vaccinations, a key hurdle remains.

Current recommendations from our state Department of Health have called for 6-foot distancing between students, but a study of classroom conditions in Massachusetts suggests that students can safely cut that distance in half so long as they wear masks. This study has the support of our nation’s leading expert on infectious disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

I’m going to continue my efforts—and I encourage you to continue yours. Working together, making our case both inside Olympia and outside Olympia, we can restore classroom learning fully and safely.

Best regards,