The governor also toured Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School in Vancouver and the Boys and Girls Club
VANCOUVER — Washington Governor Jay Inslee visited several sites in Vancouver on Friday, including Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School in the Vancouver school district, the Teen and Youth Center of the Boys and Girls Club, as well as the Tower Mall community COVID testing and vaccination site.
While at Roosevelt Elementary, Inslee toured a first and fifth grade classroom to see how students and staff are handling in-person teaching during the ongoing pandemic.
“One class I was in was half in the class and half remote, and teaching them simultaneously,” Inslee said while speaking to members of the press before wrapping up his time in America’s Vancouver. “This takes huge talent and innovation. And it’s inspiring to me to be able to see this.”
The governor noted that many school districts in Clark County are “a little ahead of some others,” when it comes to getting students back into classrooms.
“And people are happy about it, so I’m sharing this information statewide,” Inslee said. “And I hope others will do some of the other good things that are happening here in Clark County.”
Asked about growing concerns over the long-term mental health impacts to young people of the pandemic, Inslee said he’s hopeful school districts around the state will dedicate incoming relief dollars to providing services to help in that area.
“We are urging them to use some of these funds to deal with the mental health challenges of their students,” said Inslee. “Through the school system, and in conjunction with the mental health care delivery system.”
Inslee recounted a conversation with a young woman at the Boys and Girls Club who had been making use of the area’s mental health services during the pandemic.
“All of these systems need to work together,” he said, “but there’s hundreds of millions of dollars that are coming to districts that should be able to be used with some of these mental health care needs, including more counselors, including more nurses into the building so that they can administer the mental health needs of our children.”
While the Tower Mall vaccination site is run using doses administered through the Federal Pharmacy Program, Inslee said he was impressed at the efficiency of the operation, which is done in partnership with the city of Vancouver, Clark County Public Health and Safeway Pharmacies.
While there, he met with elected officials from the city and county, as well as members of the BIPOC (Black, Indiginous People of Color) communities to hear feedback on how the state could be doing a better job of getting those populations vaccinated more quickly.
Much of that conversation centered around building trust by finding respected members of those communities to reach out to people who may be hesitant to get vaccinated, struggle with language barriers, or have limited access to technology or transportation.
“Talk to your loved ones, please ask them to get vaccinated,” Inslee said, noting a recent concerning rise in new cases across much of the state. “It is safe, it is extremely effective. And it is something that can save your life.”
As of March 31, Washington was averaging 57,321 doses of vaccine administered per day, well above the goal of 45,000. A total of 3.5 million doses have been administered, with 29 percent of the state’s population receiving at least a first dose and 18 percent fully vaccinated.
In Clark County the numbers are lower. Currently, 24 percent of residents in the county have received a first dose, while 14 percent are fully vaccinated.