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April 20, 2020

Stay Home, Stay Healthy Updates from Skagit County 

Ongoing COVID-19 Transmission in Skagit County

We are closely monitoring the increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen during the past week. The recent uptick in new cases is primarily due people falling ill who are known "close contacts" of existing COVID-19 patients.

Today, Public Health reported 10 new laboratory confirmed cases. Daily updates and total case counts are available at http://www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus. Case counts are updated at 4 p.m.

Schooling during COVID-19

For most of us, teaching our children from home is a new experience. While our school districts are working incredibly hard to distribute material to support our kids’ learning, having kids home all day has created a new dynamic for many. Practicing patience with yourself, the children in your life and your loves ones is especially important right now.

Here are some tips on how to manage distance learning:

  • First, acknowledge that this is new and hard. It’s a lot of new routines and responsibilities for parents and guardians; it is a stressful situation.
  • Don’t worry about replicating a full school day. Your kids are not going to be learning at the breadth or pace they would be at school, and that’s okay. Your school district may have recommendations for how much time your kids should spend on learning daily. As a general guideline, the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) recommends the following:
    • Pre-K: 30 minutes
    • Grades K-1: 45 minutes
    • Grades 2-3: 60 minutes
    • Grades 4-5: 90 minutes
    • Grades 6-8: 20 minutes per class, maximum of 2.5 hours per day
    • Grades 9-12: 30 minutes per class, maximum of 3 hours per day.
  • Allow for unstructured play and time outside. Kids tend to do well when they have a familiar routine, but unstructured play and outside time is vital for kids’ development and mental health.
  • Play to your strengths. Are you a hobby or professional baker? Do you love sewing or fixing cars? Do you keep a garden every year or consider yourself a history buff? Don’t be afraid to expand beyond the traditional K-12 curriculum and spend time teaching your kids how to do what you do best. Learning comes in many forms, and this could be a great time for a hands-on learning opportunity.
  • Stay connected with your kids’ school and teachers. Skagit County school districts are working hard to provide learning opportunities for your kids online. Check your school district’s website for opportunities for your kids to stay connected to their school:
  • Help your kids deal with their emotions. This is a scary time for many, and some children may have a difficult time managing their feelings about school closures. They may be missing their routines, activities, friends and teachers. It’s important to talk with your kids, reassure them we’ll be alright, and be supportive. The CDC and the Child Mind Institute offer suggestions for supporting students' mental wellness during closures.

And finally, remember your family isn’t alone. Last week, the New York Times posted this article detailing the personal experiences of kids across the U.S. dealing with school closures. It’s a good reminder that many are experiencing the same hardships we are, and that we are in this together. Staying home unfortunately means keeping schools closed, but it is a vital part of keeping our community safe, protecting our healthcare and other essential workers, and getting us through this pandemic.

Please: stay strong, stay home and stay healthy. 

Additional Resources

  • In order to help support those applying for unemployment benefits, the Washington Employment Securities Department has released a new phone number for people to call with questions. If you have questions and are not yet ready to apply, you can reach ESD at 833-572-8400.
  • On Wednesday, April 15, the Skagit County Board of Health convened for a session with Skagit County Health Officer Dr. Howard Leibrand to discuss phases of social distancing. If interested, you can watch the full session here.
  • On Friday, the Public Health Department published a new resource which shows positive COVID-19 cases by zip code. You can view the map here. Zip codes are recorded based on where a patient lives. New data will be added to the map on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson has put out a new video called “Together, Protecting our Future” on the importance of social distancing. You can view the video here.
  • On Friday, April 17, Governor Inslee extended the evictions moratorium through June 4, 2020 and added additional protections for residential and some commercial tenants. You can read more about the extension here. If you are currently facing eviction, you can report it to the State by filling out the Attorney General’s Eviction Moratorium complaint form.
  • Beginning Friday, April 17, some Washington residents can apply through the Department of Social and Health Services for emergency cash assistance to help meet their immediate needs. As a result of Governor Inslee’s emergency declaration in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has approved implementing the Disaster Cash Assistance Program, or DCAP, in Washington State. You can read more here.