With Kindergartners Returning, A Call To Move Carefully On Sending More Students To School

Sep 28, 2020

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz is urging students to be flexible as they consider adding more children to in-person instruction.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Several Spokane area school districts have either welcomed or are preparing to welcome some students back to their classrooms. Different districts are moving at different speeds.

Some districts will want to move more quickly than others in adding first and then second graders. Health Officer Bob Lutz is urging them to be flexible in their schedules for doing that.

Kindergarten students returned at Mead last Thursday. They’ll come back to Central and West Valley School Districts next Monday and to Spokane Public Schools a week from Wednesday. Cheney will bring back some pre-K and special ed students next week and kindergarten the Monday afternoon.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says rates of positive coronavirus tests continue low among younger school-aged children. That’s one reason why he feels comfortable with the decision to allow younger children to come back.

But he’s urging districts to be cautious about rapidly expanding the numbers of students in classrooms.

“I’ve encouraged all school districts to be flexible and nimble, acknowledging what’s happening in their specific settings, what’s happening in the broader community and being nimble enough to say, ‘You know what? We can’t really go forward at this point. Maybe we’re in a holding pattern. Maybe we actually have to go backward a little bit," he said.

With kindergartners back or on their way, Lutz says there’s no set period that districts will have to wait before adding back first and second graders.