by Sally James
Washington’s medical officials are bracing for the next few weeks in the latest surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. But they also offered a glimmer of good news at their Wednesday, Jan. 19, media event.
“The next several weeks will be very difficult,” said Umair Shah, M.D., M.P.H., secretary of health of the Washington State Department of Public Health (DOH). Even though case counts have leveled off in most of Western Washington, they are still rising in Eastern Washington. Hospitals are struggling with too many patients and barely enough room or staff to care for them properly. Gov. Jay Inslee has sent National Guard personnel to help several state hospitals.
Continue reading Western WA’s COVID Cases Level Off, Hospitals Brace for Surge, More Masks and Tests Available
by Ari Robin McKenna
When Seattle Public Schools’ (SPS) mass COVID-19 screening flagged seven of their coworkers last Monday, Kimball Elementary School staff knew they were in for a week. A tight-knit group who has a strong relationship with their Parents, Teachers, and Students Association (PTSA), Kimball’s staff braced themselves.
As the week progressed, Kimball — in Southeast Seattle and serving 75% students of color — was without one Instructional Assistant (IA) after another, as well as multiple teachers and an administrator. By the end of the week, Kimball was short six IAs. School staffs across Seattle have been worn down by factors including a national substitute teacher shortage, the challenges teaching students returning to in-person school after a such long break, and unrealistic pressure to “catch up.” Yet while the entire system is in crisis, throughout last week, Kimball staff approached its actual breaking point.
Kimball Music Teacher and Seattle Education Association (SEA) Union Rep KT Raschko, described staffs’ still-determined ethos in the hallways of the Van Asselt building, where Kimball is housed while its new building is constructed:
Continue reading Why School Was Cancelled at Kimball Elementary for the Past Three Days