Governor calls outdoors ‘secret weapon’ against COVID-19 during event with Forest Service and Vancouver mayor
VANCOUVER — Gov. Jay Inlsee made a stop in the Vancouver area earlier today, visiting Clark College and the Grant House on Officer’s Row, among other locations.
The governor came in collaboration with the city and Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle along with members of some nonprofit organizations and the Forest Service joined him at a stop. Bringing the governor’s “Take it outside” campaign against the COVID-19 virus to the area was among the chief goals of the visit.
“We have discovered a secret weapon against the COVID virus,” Inslee said. “It’s a weapon that is available to all of us. It is free. It is open pretty much every day of the week. It is accessible to people of all ages and all circumstances, and that is the most beautiful outside environment on the planet today. And that’s the outside of the state of Washington. We urge everybody in the next several months, let’s take it outside.”
Inslee heard about the Fort Vancouver National Historic site and the many trails and parks therein from McEnerny-Ogle and Tracy Fortmann of the United States Forest Service (USFS).
“Over the last year, we’ve been able to fully embrace all of our outdoor spaces,” McEnerey-Ogle said. “It has been vital to our physical, mental and the economic health of this community. And you may not know, but the city of Vancouver has over 1,600 acres of parkland, about 100 parks, and about 20 just natural areas.”
Inslee referenced the fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, and how he hopes residents will continue to use the additional space afforded outside to physically distance themselves and achieve better airflow. He also referenced rising vaccination rates, and said he is happy with the outdoor mass vaccination sites, like at Tower Mall and the fairgrounds.
“Every single hour we spend outside with our friends, is one hour where we are not infecting our friends, or ourselves. This outside is the place to be for the next couple of months, at least,” Inslee said. “A secret weapon in the war against COVID is this porch right here. Take it outside, keep yourself alive, keep your friends alive, and let’s beat this pandemic. We want to get out of the days of worrying about these restrictions. We want to free ourselves from these restrictions.”
Inslee said he was not concerned that restaurants and other businesses would not comply with restrictions if they were moved back to Phase 2. He also said he supported the recent decision by Washington State University to require all students to be vaccinated before returning to any campus in-person in the fall.
In visiting the Clark College main campus, Inslee came to announce the certification of two new Career Launch programs.
The governor has been a proponent of Career Launch, a Washington state program that provides students with the chance to “earn as they learn” through partnerships between public educational institutions and local employers that provide meaningful and paying on-the-job experience as well as classroom learning.
Clark College’s new Career Launch programs are:
- A partnership with Eurobake Bakery to provide students with paid work experience as they earn an Associate in Applied Technology (AAT) degree in Professional Baking & Pastry Arts Management
- A partnership with MacKay Sposito to provide students with paid work experience as they earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Surveying & Geomatics
Those two programs join Clark College’s already-existing Career Launch partnerships: an AAT in Mechanical Instrumentation (part of the Mechatronics program) in partnership with SEH America, Silicon Forest Electronics, Analog Devices, Inc., and Kyocera International, Inc.; an AAT in Toyota T-TEN Automotive in partnership with Toyota America Corporation; an AAT in HiTECC Automotive in partnership with Dick Hannah Dealerships; and an Associate in Science – Transfer Track 2 (AST2) in Engineering in partnership with SEH America.
The college has also proposed a Career Launch program in cybersecurity that is currently pending review by the Career Launch Endorsement Review Committee.
Inslee made the announcement at Clark College’s STEM Building where he also met with students, Clark College President Karin Edwards, Clark College Trustee Chair Rekah Strong, and representatives from faculty, industry partners, and ESD 112.
Some information provided by Clark College.