Dear friends and neighbors,
Many of you have reached out to my office for information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. I share your concerns, especially as a parent with a child recently sent home from our closed public schools.
Government leaders and health officials are working rapidly to slow the spread of the virus, and coordinate efforts to help everyone in Washington. The information related to COVID-19 is changing rapidly, so it’s best to only use resources from official sources, like the state Dept. of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Below you will find official state resources related to COVID-19. This information will be routinely updated. Resources include information on employment (or unemployment) and health care.
Official Washington state COVID-19 website
Washington state House Democrats
Office of Gov. Jay Inslee
Washington state Dept. of Health
Public Health – Seattle & King County
TVW – Washington state’s public affairs network
Practicing social distancing
Social distancing is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 as the virus is transferred from person to person.
Even if you do not show signs on the virus, you could be a carrier and should practice social distancing whenever possible.
Social distancing guidelines:
- Staying home whenever possible, especially when you or anyone in your household is sick.
- Maintaining six feet of space between individuals. It’s okay to get fresh air, walk the dog, buy groceries and pick up medications – just maintain six feet of space.
- Eliminating nonessential trips outside the home. Use telecommute options and avoid public transportation whenever possible. Trips to the grocery store and pharmacy are okay.
- Minimizing contact with people, especially nonessential travel and visits with people over the age of 60. Seniors and people with compromised immune systems should stay home whenever possible.
- Rescheduling nonessential social gatherings and travel. There is a current statewide emergency ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and sit-in options at restaurants and bars. Delivery and take-out options are still available.
- Keeping in contact with loved ones remotely.
Supporting students and families during school closures
Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee and Superintendent Chris Reykdal of the Office of Public Instruction (OSPI) directed all schools statewide to close until at least April 27 at the earliest.
Closing schools was not an easy decision, but social distancing can slow down the spread of COVID-19.
Parents of students who receive free or reduced-price school meals should contact their school district about meal distribution. For example, Tukwila schools are still distributing lunches to kids at bus stops and schools each day.
Resources for parents and students:
- School closure FAQ.
- Tips for talking to your children about school closures.
- Questions and answers from the US Department of Education about providing services to children with disabilities.
- Financial education resources from Financial Education Public Private Partnership (great resources for older students).
- Printable social studies lessons and activities for students from the Pulitzer Center.
- Free virtual museum tours from London to Seoul.
- Women’s History Month lessons and conversation kits for students of all ages.
- Online Physical Education Network’s tools for creating an active home.
- List of online mathematics resources for remote learning.
- World language learning from PBS and Georgia Virtual Learning.
- Seattle Times article on child care and at-home learning during coronavirus closures
Feeding families during COVID-19
The governor has closed restaurants for the next two weeks, but not because food is the risk. There are plenty of ways to continue to access safe and healthy food, and extra help is available for families that need support getting food on the table.
Grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores remain open. As the governor stated on Monday, there is no need to stockpile. Our supply chain remains strong. Practice social distancing and use good hygiene when making essential trips for groceries.
Order takeout and delivery while practicing social distancing. Again, the governor has closed restaurants for the next two weeks to increase social distancing, not because food is the risk. You can still support small businesses by ordering takeout and delivery. Make sure to maintain good social distancing and hygiene while doing so.
Assistance with buying food. If the COVID-19 crisis is creating extra strain on your household budget, you can apply for assistance through various state programs at https://www.washingtonconnection.org/home/.
Free school meals in some school districts. School districts are stepping up to continue to provide free school breakfasts and lunches. Check with your local school district to see if they are providing free meals for kids.
Food banks remain open. Food banks continue to provide assistance to families and are instituting increased social distancing and hygiene practices. For any questions about hours or practices, please contact your local food bank directly. If you are healthy and able to give time, consider volunteering.
Cooking at home. For those cooking at home, handle food with the same care that you usually would. Wash your hands. Only handle food when healthy. People who are coughing, feverish, short of breath, or otherwise sick should stay out of the kitchen.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office for help related to COVID-19. We will do our best to connect you with the appropriate agency or resources. We are in this together.
Rep. Zack Hudgins