After removing the 6ft distancing rule for schools, Governor Inslee said “You can start tomorrow, going back into what you might call a full meal deal.” Since the announcement, school districts have been in discussion on what this means for them.
All Washington state schools have the option of reducing the social distance from 6 feet to 3 feet. This is in accordance with Governor Inslee’s March 25th press conference. Infection rates are dropping and with vaccines being more widely being distributed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their guidelines as of March 19th.
Inslee reported that an estimated 200 schools in the state have already brought children back into the classroom in some kind of hybrid model. Hybrid models schools should be able to adjust rapidly in this change according to Inslee. Deer Park School Districts and Riverside School Districts were part of the hybrid model that Inslee mentioned that are already offering in-person learning.
This announcement however does not change most of the things that the schools are currently doing as a result of the pandemic. School Districts are still required to continue to offer families remote options for students. Also, all cleaning and mask wearing requirements are still required. Inslee states, “Everyone in the school needs to wear masks because they’re effective in limiting transmission.”
Regardless of how the schools in your district are planning to use the reduction of social distancing, it cannot be overstated how hard both the parents and the whole of the education community have worked to serve the students. This new requirement of 3 feet requires modification to a system that the students and school staff have come to recognize.
Deer Park School District
Superintendent Hanson stated in a press release that the school district has a goal of returning to a full in-person 5-day learning option in the week of Monday, April 19th. However, they do give April 26th as a possible fall back date if things do not line up as quickly as they hope. The school believes that making the change as soon as possible will have immediate benefits for their students and also help get more traction for staff and students for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
As for the students who are attending school remotely full time using Edgenuity online platform they will be completing their year using that model. In addition, elementary or middle school students who have been successful in the remote model are being encouraged and are to continue working remotely until the end of the school year.
Riverside School District
Superintendent Russell announced they are moving to Stage 4 of their Rams Return Plan. The Board of Directors voted for all students of Riverside Middle School and High School to resume in-person learning starting Monday April 12th. The Early Learning Center, Riverside Achievement Center (RAC), and Independent Scholar Program (ISP) will keep their current schedules. Students attending Chattaroy and Riverside Elementary Schools already attend in-person daily teaching. The district will continue to practice relief measures such as the face coverings, cleaning and disinfecting, using seating charts for contact tracing and other guidelines as previously outlined by the Washington Department of Health.
Mary Walker and Loon Lake School Districts
As of the time of this article both school districts have not released any information on how they will be responding to the new announcement made by Inslee.
Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DPGazette.com/cdcop31921. Accessed 26 March 2021.
Inslee March 25 2021 Press Conference. TVW.org, 2021, DPGazette.com/inslee32521. Accessed 26 March 2021.