UPDATED: Yelm Community Schools to Close Through April 24 to Help Slow COVID-19 Spread

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Yelm Community Schools joined other Thurston County school districts Friday after announcing schools will close Monday through April 24 as a measure aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The decision came a day after Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all public and private schools in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties closed.

“Thurston County superintendents met early this morning and have agreed to a unified approach around school closure,” a letter from the district reads. “Starting Monday, March 16, our schools will close through Friday, April 24, 2020. Public health officials have advised us that a sustained closure can help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Beginning Monday, March 16, students will remain home. Staff can expect further guidance from administrators before the end of the day, according to the letter.

“We wanted to get the message about school closure out to you as soon as possible,” the letter states. “We are currently in the process of developing district plans to support students with non-educational services as requested by the Governor and OSPI. Further communication regarding these services will be forthcoming”

The school district recommends that residents continue to follow existing guidelines to protect their health. The Washington State Department of Health recommends:

• Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds; use alcohol-based sanitizer if no water is available

• Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

• Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with those who are sick

• Stay home if sick Note: Temperature should remain normal (below 100.5 F degrees) for 72 hours without any fever-reducing medication before leaving home

• Cover cough or sneeze with tissue, throw tissue in trash, wash hands

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched object and surfaces

“We recognize that this disruption in our normal school year has an impact on our students, our families and our staff,” the district wrote. “We know that this exceptional moment has prompted lots of conversation and questions which we will address in the coming days. We want to express our appreciation of your patience as we work through the daily challenges COVID-19 has presented to all of us.”

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