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Regional News

E. WA School Officials Ask For Flexibility With Distancing Rules

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Courtesy of Post Falls School District
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About 40 school officials in eastern Washington are asking Governor Jay Inslee for flexibility in how they space students in their schools.The state requires school districts to keep students at least six feet apart as much as possible. Six feet between their desks, for example.

School officials say, in grade schools, they’ve been able to make that work and put up to 20 students in classrooms. Most want to keep class sizes small in the lower grades anyway. But in middle and high schools, when students are older and larger, they say it’s virtually impossible.

So 32 eastern Washington superintendents, eight leaders of private schools and two leaders of public charter schools have written the governor. They’re asking him to allow them to put children three feet apart, with the appropriate health measures, masks, et cetera.

They point to advice from organizations such as the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. They cite recommendations that schools weigh the benefits of keeping a strict six-foot rule versus the need to get children back in classrooms. And now, with the governor pressing districts to bring students back, they’re asking for permission to scrunch students closer together.

The governor on Friday said he’s not ready to grant that yet, but suggested he might be close to it.