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5 things to know this weekend

Requesting a free COVID test; Seattle student sickout rally; solitary confinement bill gets hearing; levy for tsunami preparedness; students debt wiped out for some.

Here's how to request free COVID tests starting next week

The federal website where Americans can request free COVID-19 tests will begin accepting orders on Wednesday as the White House looks to address nationwide shortages, but supplies will be limited to just four free tests per home.

Starting on Jan. 19, the website COVIDTests.gov will provide tests at no cost, including no shipping fee, the White House announced Friday.

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Seattle students rally outside school district headquarters over COVID safety concerns

As Seattle Public Schools (SPS) closes more campuses and adds more classes to remote learning Friday, there is frustration among students who believe more could be done by the district to make conditions safer and ease transitions to remote learning.

Some Franklin High School students started an online petition, which has received more than 700 signatures, sharing some of the things they would like to see. They are hoping for more access to N95 masks, booster shots and mental health counselors.

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Inmates describe ‘The Hole’ as they testify in support of bill limiting solitary confinement

Prison inmates who spent years in solitary confinement told state legislators of the trauma they suffered living in what they call "the hole."

Legislation to limit the practice had a hearing Thursday before the House Public Safety Committee.

House Bill 1756 would limit the use of solitary confinement to a maximum of 15 days, and it could only be administered for an inmate’s safety or for medical reasons.

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Levy to fund tsunami evacuation structures on the ballot in Grays Harbor County

Residents who live in the North Beach School District on Washington’s coast are being asked to approve a $110 million bond levy on Feb. 8, most of it to mitigate the risk from earthquakes and tsunamis.

The levy will pay for additional classrooms at Ocean Shores Elementary and a performing arts center at North Beach Middle/High School that would double as vertical evacuation structures.

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Around 1,400 Washington residents will have student debt wiped out in settlement

Around 1,400 Washington residents will have their student loan debt erased, as part of a $1.7 billion settlement from a lawsuit led by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

About $35 million is coming to Washington borrowers; on average, they'll each receive $25,000 of debt relief.

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Also see: Seattle local forecast

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