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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Central Valley to begin phasing in first-graders Oct. 21

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 15, 2020

The doors are about to open a little wider in the Central Valley School District.

After what Superintendent Ben Small termed a successful two weeks of in-person learning for kindergartners, the district will bring first-graders back to buildings next week.

“Our teachers are very excited,” Small said Thursday. “I’ve never been an elementary teacher, but thinking back to teaching middle school, you think about the excitement of seeing your children in class.”

Beginning Wednesday, first-graders who chose learning models “with a plan to return to in-person learning” may do so.

First-graders will return on a phased A/B format, with half attending on Wednesday and the other half on Thursday.

All first-graders will attend in person beginning Oct. 23.

Meanwhile, Spokane Public Schools is planning to bring all kindergartners back to buildings on Monday. However, the district has not committed to a timetable on other grades.

Spokane County recorded 133 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday for a total of 8,492 confirmed infections. The local death toll is 181.

Small emphasized that the move happened “after consistent consultation with Spokane Regional Health District since the start of our phased-in learning approach.

“They continue to support this cautious phasing method,” Small wrote to parents.

The return of first-graders couldn’t have happened without a successful experience for kindergartners, Small said.

“It’s gone very well,” said Small, whose staffers surveyed kindergarten parents and found few issues.

Small said kindergartners have been “very compliant” in wearing masks. “We’ve been able to get students to adjust,” Small said.

For parents who may not feel comfortable sending their children back to school, the district is requesting they contact their building principal.

Transportation will be provided for all students. However, the district is encouraging parents to transport their child to school if possible, to maximize social distancing.

Looking ahead, Small urged families “to be vigilant as the newness wears off.”

“I really want to emphasize to our community that with continued physical distancing, and continuing to wear masks, we can get more of our kids back in class,” Small said.

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