Adminstrators at Spokane County's two largest school districts have announced plans to send kindergarten students back to school the week after next. This follows an announcement early Wednesday afternoon that Health Officer Bob Lutz approved of districts slowly phasing in in-person instruction for kindergarten-through-second grade.
The Spokane School District will welcome kindergarten students back to school on October 7. Central Valley will bring Kindergartners back in all of the district's elementary schools on Monday and Tuesday, October 5 and 6. The district will use a phased alternating approach to start and then transition to a full day on Wednesday, October 7.
Spokane Superintendent Adam Swinyard says kindergartners will be split into two groups that will attend in-person on alternating days.
“The rationale for an alternating schedule, to begin with, is that we give an opportunity to teach the kindergartners, get them used to the building. It’s already a really big transition for our kindergarten students to get used to coming to a new building and doing school. But we also want to make sure that we carefully and methodically teach them the safety protocols and get them accustomed and adjusted to wearing the mask and the six-foot distancing," he said.
Swinyard says the district will monitor the kindergarten experience with an eye toward adding one grade at a time. He says it’s too early to tell now when that might occur.
Swinyard says he’s happy that a few students will finally get the chance to go back to the classroom.
“There is significant trauma and significant hardship that our students are incurring by not being in our schools. We know that’s part of Dr. Lutz’s rationale as he balances the impact of Covid and the detrimental public health outcomes that our students are experiencing," he said.
Swinyard says the district is in the process of finalizing the logistical details of bringing kindergarten students back to school. He says the district will soon hold webinars for kindergarten teachers and parents to share the details.