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In-person classes for Washington students 'at risk' this fall due to rising COVID-19 cases

Gov. Jay Inslee says without "significant changes" to the state’s record-setting increasing coronavirus cases, campuses might be closed again come September.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — In June, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said he expected in-person instruction to resume in September. But now in July, he says he's not sure. 

"We had the critical numbers we needed to feel comfortable about the fall but things have clearly sprung back up in terms of caseloads and that really puts at risk the fall opening," said Reykdal.

On Thursday the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) sent a template to superintendents across the state. 

School districts are required to submit reopening plans for state review no later than two weeks before the first day of school. At the same time, Educators appear to be working on options for parents. 

Most appear to be offering a hybrid of online and in-person classes or 100% online learning, said Reykdal.

Governor Jay Inslee said he’s speaking with superintendents who are coming up with plans that work best for their communities.

But the governor said without "significant changes" to the state’s record-setting increasing coronavirus cases, campuses might be closed again.

"Our ability to open schools is dependent on our ability to knock down this virus," said Gov. Inslee during a Thursday press conference where he and Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman discussed the rising number of COVID-19 cases

RELATED: Gov. Inslee restricts some social gatherings, says another stay-at-home order possible

During the week of June 26--July 2, the state averaged 629 new COVID-19 cases every day, according to Wiesman. It's the highest rate of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. 

The governor called it a “very disturbing pattern.” 

There are currently 44,313 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, including 1,427 deaths as of Thursday.

RELATED: Inslee: Reopening schools could mean rolling back 'Safe Start' phases