Olympia, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the rollback of three counties that are not meeting the Phase 3 Healthy Washington reopening metrics.

The three counties returning to Phase 2 are:

  • Cowlitz County
  • Pierce County
  • Whitman County

“These metric trends are driven by the virus and we must continue to do everything we can to sharpen our focus and keep COVID-19 activity down. We are so close to the end of the tunnel here — we have made tremendous progress and we must keep our focus,” Inslee said. “It’s like a football game; we have done 95 yards on a 99 yard-drive. We can’t let up now. These are not punitive actions; they are to save lives and protect public health.”

“Vaccine is a crucial tool that will help us end the pandemic, but it isn’t the only tool, and we don’t yet have enough Washingtonians fully vaccinated to rely on this alone to keep our communities safe from the virus,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary for COVID-19 response, Department of Health. “We need to focus on lowering disease transmission in the next several weeks ahead as we continue our vaccination efforts in order to avoid a fourth surge of cases. This means wearing masks, watching our distancing and keeping gatherings small and outdoors.”

Last Friday, the governor announced updates to the Healthy Washington criteria:

  • In order to move down one phase, a county must fail both metrics for case counts and hospitalizations. Under the previous plan, a county only needed to fail one metric to move back a phase.
  • The spectator events guidance is updated to make clear what is allowed for counties in Phase 2 and how these events are related to school graduation ceremonies. That guidance is available here.
  • The Open Air Seating guidance is updated to allow flexibility for eating and drinking establishments. That guidance is available here.
  • The next evaluation of counties will be in three weeks, on May 3.

This Thursday, April 15, all Washingtonians (16+) will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines. 

More than 100 animal residents of the Washougal-based Odd Man Inn sanctuary will take a 2,700-mile journey to their new home in Tennessee.

Washougal, WA – Today, Odd Man Inn Animal Refuge and Wildlife Rehab announced its immediate relocation to a 93-acre property in Jamestown, TN and the adoption of an additional 160 large pigs formerly of the Pig Preserve. This move establishes Odd Man Inn as one of the largest animal sanctuaries in the country dedicated primarily to larger breeds of farmed pigs. 

Since its founding in 2016, Odd Man Inn has helped nearly 400 vulnerable animals of 15 different species–including pigs, sheep, goats, llamas, donkeys, and turtles–get adopted into forever homes. The sanctuary has specialized in rescuing pigs of all kinds and personalities, from the special-needs three-legged Eppah to the 600lb curly-haired Sid the Swamp Pig. “We love helping the underdogs. Pigs are the bottom of the barnyard hierarchy and very rarely have safe options. It feels great to run an organization that helps them find safe passage into a home that treats them as family,” said Co-Founder Wendy Smith.

In their nearly five years rescuing farm animals from neglect and abuse in Southwest Washington, Odd Man Inn filled a critical local need and became part of the community. They have worked alongside animal control agencies throughout Washington and Oregon, providing shelter and medical care for farm animals that the agencies aren’t as well equipped to handle. Local farms and farmsteads like Blue Door Farm (https://www.bluedoorfarmwa.com/) in Brush Prairie donated excess produce to help feed the refuge’s residents. Cedar Street Bagels in Camas (https://www.cedarstreetbagelco.com/) named one of their bagel sandwiches in honor of Odd Man Inn’s photo-contest winning resident Melvin, a lovable potbelly pig that lost a leg and both his ears in a dog attack.

“We’re grateful for all the relationships we’ve created, and the support we have received from local businesses, community members, farmers, animal control agencies, humane societies, fellow sanctuaries, and the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. It’s bittersweet; while we are excited about the prospect of saving more animals from harm, we feel sad about leaving such a wonderful community. It will be hard, but we hope to  take all that we’ve learned here and work to duplicate those exact partnerships in Tennessee,” said Wendy.

The transition poses huge logistical challenges. Over 100 current residents of Odd Man Inn – including two 1500lb steers and 38 pigs up to 650lbs – will be carefully transported the 2700 miles to Tennessee. Aging and special needs residents will require extra accommodation to ensure their safety and comfort during this multi-day journey. “We will make as many trips as needed to ensure the animals are comfortable while we transport them to their new sanctuary. Their comfort and security is always our primary concern,” said Josh Smith, Co-Founder and Farm Manager.  While transporting the current residents, Odd Man Inn will also simultaneously care for the 160 new pigs and provide them with needed veterinary assessments, vaccines, and hoof care. 

Odd Man Inn is raising money through a GoFundMe campaign (gofundme.com/oddmaninn) to help with the safe transportation of its current residents and the restoration of their new Tennessee home. 


Odd Man Inn (www.oddmaninn.org) is a farm animal sanctuary and permitted Washington State wildlife rehabilitation facility formerly based in Washougal, WA. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit’s mission is to help as many animals as possible find safety, rehabilitation, socialization, and a forever home while giving them a voice as ambassadors for their own kind against imprisonment, abuse, and consumption.

Odd Man Inn’s mission is to help as many animals as possible find safety, rehabilitation, socialization, and a forever home while giving them a voice as ambassadors for their own kind.

Washougal, WA — Washougal School District (WSD) is expanding its hybrid learning program for students in grades 6-12 to four days of in-person learning, starting Monday, April 19, 2021.  

The change was made possible by the State of Washington Department of Health adoption of the three-foot physical distancing guidance for students in classrooms that was adopted earlier this month by the Center for Disease Control.

“We are working with teachers, staff, administrators, and public health officials to ensure we can provide safe learning environments for larger numbers of students,” said Mary Templeton, WSD Superintendent. “Staff will be working over the coming weeks to implement protocols for areas where the six-foot social distancing rule still applies, like during lunch and passing time, and in some classrooms where students are exhaling more frequently such as P.E., choir, and band. All district staff will have had the opportunity to be fully immunized by that time.”  

Middle and high school students will continue to have an asynchronous day on Wednesday, which provides time for teachers to plan lessons and make contact with students who are not able to return to in-person learning at this time. K-5 students will also continue to have an asynchronous Wednesday, along with the current schedule which has a 1 hour late start.  Teachers use this time each day to contact students who are fully remote. 

“Our goal is to continue to provide service to both in-person hybrid and fully remote students this way through the end of this school year,” said Templeton. “We are also committed to providing the least amount of disruption to our students and families as we make this last transition for the school year. As we plan for next school year, we plan to offer five days of full-time, in-person learning for students in grades K-12, unless they are enrolled in the new online Washougal Learning Academy.  We are delighted that WLA is available to serve families who need flexibility or who are unable to return to in-person learning.”

These opportunities for schools to expand in-person educational offering are the result of the community at large doing their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Clark County’s rate per 100,000 must remain under 200 to use the new 3-foot guidance in grades 6-12, which is critical for supporting four days per week. The rate per 100,000 over 14 days is currently 105.6. “To keep students in school, all of us must wear masks, watch our distance, and wash our hands,” urged Templeton. “Health officials studying the spread of COVID emphasize these simple, but critical steps in our daily lives to be able to take next steps in our reopening.”


  • April 12Students in grades K-5 will begin hybrid four-days per week, with the same late start schedule they have now. 
  • April 19: Students in grades 6-12 will begin hybrid four-days per week with the same schedule they have for hybrid now. 
  • Students with special needs who are attending in-person on a special schedule will be contacted by the student’s case manager if there are schedule changes.


School staff continue the safety routines and protocols that are keeping students and staff safe.  These include daily health screening, mandatory face coverings, social distancing, hand washing, and additional cleaning, signage and training.


Olympia, WA — Today Gov. Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health announced that Washington will align with new CDC guidance around physical distancing in schools.

Under the new guidance, students should maintain at least 3 feet of physical distancing from each other in classrooms. Previous guidance required 6 feet of distance. This change only applies to students; staff should continue to maintain 6 feet of distance from other staff and students.

There are some other circumstances when 6 feet of distance is still required for all students and staff:
• In common areas, such as auditoriums.
• When masks cannot be word, such as when eating.
• During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, band practice and PE.

When COVID-19 activity is high (more than 200 cases per 100k or test positivity higher than 10%), the state and CDC recommend that middle and high school students are group together and maintain at least 3 feet of distance between each other. When students cannot be grouped together, the CDC and DOH recommend 6 feet of distance.

The state guidance for schools has been reflected to update these changes. See the full guidance here: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/FallGuidanceK-12.pdf


Washougal WA — Books inspire young readers and lay an important foundation for their success in education. Getting books into the hands of Washougal preschool children has been the work of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Camas-Washougal (GFWC C-W) since 2017.   Now, thanks to a very generous $6,000 grant from the Camas-Washougal Community Chest (CWCC) in early March, GFWC C-W will be able to purchase books for all children enrolled in both Washougal and Camas School District Pre-K programs.  Extended Learning Coordinators from both districts will be ordering and distributing the books throughout the year. 

GFCW C-W’s original program was to reward students for attending a weekly 1-2-3 Grow & Learn session at Hathaway Elementary School.  An additional program was created in 2020 to place books into the hands of all children enrolled in Pre-K programs in the Washougal School District. Books are distributed several times each year to preschool programs through WSD Community Education and Developmental preschools, EOCF (HeadStart), ECEAP, and 1,2,3 Learn and Grow.  

“We are thrilled and grateful for the generous support that the GFCW CW provides to our early learners in Washougal” said Lisa Young, WSD Extended Learning Manager. “We feel very fortunate that the GFCW CW understands the value that these books provide to our community. We are so fortunate to benefit from their continued commitment to our youngest students and their families.”

“We believe by making books available to young children we are helping to enhance their love of reading and their school readiness skills,” said GFCW C-W Vice President, Susan Bennett. 

In 2020 GFCW received a CWCC grant to expand the program to include all children enrolled in Pre-K programs in the Washougal School District. “But due to greater community needs brought on by the pandemic, we, like many local organizations, were asked to return any unspent funds to CWCC for redistribution,” Bennett explained. 

Because of the connections that have been established within the school district, books were able to be delivered during the 2019-2020 school year, even though students were engaged in distance learning.  Young learners were able to stay engaged by attending online classes. More than 140 children attended virtual classes daily via Zoom that are presented by four Early Care and Education Specialists from ESD 112 who are part of the 1-2-3 Grow & Learn Program.  Children throughout Clark County and Washington State attend these daily sessions.  Washougal attendees are receiving backpacks full of books through this program. Mid-year books were delivered by school bus to students who attended a specific number of classes.  

“We have been reading books to our four-year-old son Luca every day since he was born,” said preschool parent, Willa Bateman, of Camas.  “He loves reading books, and he can’t go to bed without a story or two! We are so thankful for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Camas-Washougal and their Reach for the Stars through Books program. By attending preschool children learn valuable lessons and skills as well as have lots of fun with teachers and classmates. This is a great program to build a strong foundation for young learners!”

Children enrolled in Washougal School District Pre-K programs were awarded books numerous times throughout the year. And at the end of the year, more books were handed out as a reward at the drive through Washougal preschool graduation.  Another set of books were given out this fall to students attending the preschool programs. 

“CWCC as our main benefactor of the Reach for the Stars Through Books,” said Susan Bennett. “Without the CWCC funding we would not be able to offer this amazing program.”


Effective March 22, the entire state of Washington entered Phase 3 of Governor Jay Inslee’s reopening plan for the COVID-19 pandemic. But, what does that mean?

Phase 3 will allow up to 50 percent occupancy or 400 people maximum, whichever is lower, for all indoor spaces. This applies to all industries and indoor activities currently allowed including:

  • Restaurants
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Movie theaters

Sports guidance will change in Phase 3 to allow in-person spectators. Spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor venues with permanent seating with capacity capped at 25 percent. The change affects both professional and high school sports, as well as motorsports, rodeos, and other outdoor spectator events. Social distancing and facial covering are still required.

The new phase also allows for up to 400 people maximum to attend outdoor activities, as well as events in indoor facilities — so long as 400 people does not exceed 50 percent capacity for the location, and physical distancing and masking protocols are enforced. Larger venue events are capped at 25 percent occupancy, or up to 9,000 people, whichever is less, and must follow spectator guidelines.

Church congregations will also be allowed to sing.

Camas, WA — Camas Superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell released this statement Friday about local solidarity with the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

Dear Camas Community,

We are devastated by the heinous attacks targeting Asian Americans including the murders that took place on Tuesday in Atlanta. We want every member of our Asian and Pacific Islander community to know we see you; we mourn and stand with you.  We remain committed to lifting up the voices of Asian American students and families as they combat this wave of violence and all acts of racism. We know six of the total eight victims are women of Asian descent. We only know four of the names of victims so far: Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng. 

Chung Ho, Juanito Falcon, Yong Zheng, Vicha Ratanapakdee, Christian Hall, Angelo Quinto, and others have also lost their lives in the last three months because of racist hate that our country and community has far too often allowed to fester. 

We continue to witness and experience acts of violence and harassment toward marginalized groups across this country and locally.  This is why we will not relent in our pursuit of equity and social justice.  We must continue to uproot and condemn all racist, xenophobic, and other hate-based behaviors. Each and every person deserves the right to exist, learn and thrive in our community.  

We will continue to support our students in discussing and learning from what they are seeing and experiencing. Our state education agency makes the following commitment in their Reopening Washington Schools publication: “The impacts of fear, hatred, and systemic and structural racism within institutions cannot be ignored, and they yield tragic outcomes. Washington’s public education system must engage in anti-racist capacity building, leadership, and resource allocation. Dismantling systemically racist structures will make progress on inclusivity and will better serve students of color, students with disabilities, students who are English learners, students who are migratory, students experiencing homelessness, students in foster care, students experiencing intergenerational poverty, and students who identify as LGBTQ+.” 

In the Camas School District, we will continue to amplify this commitment through our policies, resolutions, and practices.

Our students and staff should know that in our schools, in our hallways, and in our community, it is a shared responsibility to call out injustice and racism. We will continue to stand up for equity in learning and teaching and work towards accepting and understanding the differences that contribute to our rich tapestry of community. This work has never been more important than it is now and in Camas, we will continue to support one another and stand up for what’s right and against injustice, inequality, and all forms of systemic racism.

To learn more on how you can stand in action, visit stopaapihate.org.  Join us at our next Community Equity Forum on April 14, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM as we engage in conversation around how to support our AAPI students and families. 

Thank you,

Jeff Snell, Superintendent


Olympia, WA – Anyone 60 years old and older, along with restaurant, manufacturing and construction workers, will soon be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine in Washington, said Governor Jay Inslee.

The next group of state residents will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine starting March 31, giving two million more people the opportunity to get their shot.

“I’m happy about the general pace,” Inslee told reporters. “This timeline is much faster than we would’ve predicted a few months ago.”

The newly eligible group includes:

  • Anyone from age 60 through 64
  • Additional workers in congregate settings, such as restaurants, manufacturing and construction
  • Anyone with two or more underlying medical conditions, such as cancer or heart disease
  • People living in a congregate setting, such as a correctional facility or group home, and those experiencing homelessness.

These people join those 65 and up, 50 and up in a multigenerational household, and K-12 teachers and childcare workers. Additionally, pregnant women, people with disabilities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 and high-risk critical workers, including agriculture, grocery store and public transit workers, became eligible Wednesday.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its guidelines for schools Friday, declaring three feet of distance between students is sufficient for all elementary and many middle and high schools.

This announcement lays the groundwork for districts to reopen full-time for in-person classes.

The CDC published new research that found limited coronavirus transmission in schools that require masks but not always six feet of distance, which had been the standard used to reopen schools around the nation. That was true even in areas with high community spread of the virus.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that the issue is urgent.

“Indeed, because six feet has been such a challenge there, science has leaned in and there are now emerging studies on the question between three feet and six feet,” Walensky told Sen. Susan Collins during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.


What’s in the CDC guidance

As always, masks are recommended. At times when it’s not possible to accommodate masks, like when eating, CDC says six feet of distance should be maintained.

The agency recommends keeping student and teachers in distinct groups, or cohorts, throughout the day and maintaining 6 feet of distance between those groups, when possible. In middle schools and high schools where community transmission is high, CDC advises students to stay 6 feet apart, if cohorting is not possible.

CDC also recommends 6 feet of distance in common areas, like lobbies and auditoriums, and during activities like singing, shouting, band or sport practices. They say it’s better to move those kinds of activities, where increased exhalation occurs, outdoors or to well-ventilated spaces.

In classrooms, CDC says layout changes, like removing nonessential furniture and facing desks in the same direction, can help maximize distance between students. On school buses, the agency recommends seating students one child per row, skipping rows and opening windows to increase ventilation.

The Camas-Washougal Community Chest is celebrating its 75th anniversary by announcing the award of 28 grants totaling a record $127,671 to local non-profit organizations delivering services, exclusively, to children and families in Camas and Washougal. CWCC is also excited to announce a partnership with the Camas-Washougal Rotary Foundation to help fund additional grants each year.

“We are pleased to join forces with the Community Chest. Together we can do more good in Camas and Washougal. The Rotary commitment to Service above Self will also add volunteers to the mix as we work to make a difference for many families,” said Rotary Foundation President Kathy Bussman.

The grants will fund such diverse services as emergency food assistance, aid to families in crisis or needing emergency services, safe temporary shelter for at-risk youth, a severe weather shelter program at the Washougal Senior Center, a homeless family day center located at Saint Thomas Aquinas in Camas or enhancing the habitat of Gibbons Creek in the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. New organizations receiving grants for the first time are offering services such as financial support for low-income cancer survivors, helping low-income families pay for their pet’s veterinary bills and scholarships for children in need to use a local indoor skatepark.

Some of the non-profit organizations being funded in 2021 include Inter- Faith Treasure House, Children Home Society’s East County Family Resource Center, Janus Youth Program, Pink Lemonade, Family Promise of Clark County and Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership. For a complete listing of the grant awards see the grant summary below.

Thanks to CWRF and to major donations from the GP Foundation, GP employees, Camas School District employees, City of Camas employees, Port of Camas-Washougal employees, Windermere Foundation, Columbia Technology Manufacturing Center and Watercare Industrial Services. CWCC is well on the way to funding these grants. To reach its 2021 fundraising goal of $127,671, however, the CWCC needs additional donations from individuals and businesses in Camas and Washougal. More information and donation forms can be found on the CWCC’s website at www.CamasWashougalCommunityChest.org. 

The CWCC and CWRF are registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations for federal charitable tax deduction purposes. Says CWCC Co-President Joelle Scheldorf, “we are excited that our partnership with the Rotary Foundation will help more local charities thrive by supporting much-needed programs and services for residents of Camas and Washougal financially and with volunteers”.

2021 Grant Program Summary

Total number of grants awarded – 28

Total value of grants awarded – $127,671

Estimated number of individual services funded by grants – more than 19,500