Gov. Jay Inslee visits TC, says ‘kids need to be back in schools’

PASCO, Wash — Governor Jay Inslee visited a Pasco elementary school Tuesday afternoon to learn more about the strategies that local faculty and staff have implemented to ensure a safer community.

After walking through two fifth-grade classrooms and meeting students and their teachers at Robert Frost Elementary, Inslee said he was “impressed” with the school’s coronavirus safety procedures.

“What I’ve seen today is the ability to do this safely. Masks on the children, a little bit of distancing, contact tracing. This all amounts to a safe conduct pass for everybody to go back to school,” Inslee said.

Inslee said that he would use Pasco as a resource for other Washington schools.

“It’s really good news in Pasco for the whole state of Washington because what Pasco has shown at Robert Frost is you can open your school, you can do it safely and you’ll have fantastic results with your students,” Inslee said. “We are very hopeful that more schools can follow the leadership of educators who are doing such a great job here.”

Inslee added that the progress Pasco is seeing in their schools encourages “solution-oriented thinking.”

“So we’re making progress, more schools are giving families options to have on site. Schools can open safely. They can open in a way that improves student performance and they can open in a way with minimal transmission with no hospitalizations of people,” Inslee said.

When asked about any Phase 3 announcements, Inslee said he was “optimistic.”

“Well we are working on our next steps and while we are considering the next steps we have not finalized those decisions,” Inslee said.

He also said he did not plan on “forcing anyone” to get the vaccine if the vaccination rate were to become a metric.

“We think there is plenty of appetite and desire to be safe and save lives and we’re having a tremendously positive response,” Inslee said.

The governor also had planned to visit the Benton County Fairground’s mass vaccination site but had to change his schedule at the last minute.