Whitman County Public Health Director Suggests WSU Decision to Keep Students Out of Classroom May Have Worsened Pandemic Locally

5ee1310c5ec7e imageHard to argue with the facts. 

PULLMAN – Whitman County’s Public Health Director says that Washington State University’s decision to keep students out of the classroom might have worsened the pandemic locally. Troy Henderson discussed classroom versus online instruction with the Pullman School Board during their meeting Wednesday night.

An outbreak of coronavirus occurred in Pullman among Washington State University students when they returned to town to study online in late August. Whitman County’s 1st coronavirus death was reported about 6 weeks later. Since then 16 people have died from coronavirus locally in Washington.

Henderson supports a mix of in-person classroom and online instruction for Pullman elementary schools. He told the Pullman School Board Wednesday night that WSU’s move to online instruction shows that keeping students in the classroom can actually help slow the spread of coronavirus.

“WSU students who came back this fall were in online classes, and they did not do well on their own,” said Henderson. “I would propose to you that if those kids would have been in WSU classes with some adult supervision for seven hours a day, and had to actually get up and go to a class in the morning, it couldn’t have really been worse.”

WSU has decided to keep classes online this Spring.

The University of Idaho returned to a mix of in-person classroom and online instruction this Fall and plans to continue the hybrid model this Spring. The UI has reported on several occasions that no coronavirus transmission has occurred in the classroom.

Henderson announced on Wednesday that he has accepted a new job with the Department of Defense. His last day as Whitman County Public Health Director will be November 15th.


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