More than 3,000 students in the Central Valley School District could be back in classes by the end of next week.
Encouraged by its success keeping students and staff relatively safe so far this year, the district will welcome second-graders back to buildings in a three-day phase-in beginning Nov. 4.
“I think our parents are excited to get back,” Superintendent Ben Small said Wednesday, after sending a letter to families earlier in the day.
Continuing the phased approach used with kindergartners and first-graders, the district will bring half of the second-graders into buildings on Nov. 4 and the rest on Nov. 5.
With their families’ approval, all second-graders will be in class beginning Nov. 6. Small emphasized any parents who have concerns about returning to buildings should contact their principal.
“We will continue to meet our families at your readiness level for in-person learning,” Small said. “The majority are ready to return, but some are not.”
First-graders returned to buildings on Oct. 21, while kindergartners have been back since Oct. 5.
“It’s exciting to see our kindergartners turn into leaders in our schools,” Small said. “They’re showing the older kids how it’s done.”
Small emphasized the decision to add more students was based on encouraging feedback from the Spokane Regional Health District, as well as relatively low numbers of positive tests for COVID-19 – two so far among kindergartners and none among first-graders, Small said in a letter to families sent Wednesday morning.
Districtwide, Central Valley’s COVID-19 dashboard Wednesday showed 13 people testing positive in the last 14 days, with 88 quarantined after contact tracing.
However, those numbers are low compared with neighboring districts, most of which have adopted blended models or full in-person learning.
As of Wednesday, the Mead School District had 24 positive cases in the last two weeks, with 220 people in quarantine.
Meanwhile, the Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls districts have been forced to scale back in-person learning in the face of surging COVID-19 numbers.
Small ascribed the low numbers at Central Valley to a “great COVID response team,” diligent contact tracing and screening at the entrance of every school.
Small also encouraged the community to wear masks and follow social-distancing protocols.
Transportation will be provided.However, the district is encouraging parents to transport their child to school if possible, as buses will run at 50% capacity for social distancing.
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