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News >  K-12 education

Spokane Public Schools will return fifth and sixth graders to in-person classes full-time this month

UPDATED: Thu., April 15, 2021

Gov. Jay Inslee asks for a show of hands from students in David Dehlbom's sixth-grade class, who would rather be back in the school room and not distance learning, on Feb. 23, 2021, in Spokane. Inslee was promoting the return of students to the classroom. The Spokane School District announced Wednesday, April 14, 2021 that fifth and sixth graders will be able to return to in-person learning five-days-a-week starting later this month.   (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Gov. Jay Inslee asks for a show of hands from students in David Dehlbom's sixth-grade class, who would rather be back in the school room and not distance learning, on Feb. 23, 2021, in Spokane. Inslee was promoting the return of students to the classroom. The Spokane School District announced Wednesday, April 14, 2021 that fifth and sixth graders will be able to return to in-person learning five-days-a-week starting later this month.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Spokane Public Schools plans to return fifth- and sixth-graders to full-time, in-person instruction on April 28, the district said Wednesday night.

Logistics are still being worked out, Superintendent Adam Swinyard told school board members.

Fifth- and sixth-graders currently attend classes two days a week and every other Friday and learn virtually the rest of the time.

In a letter to parents, the district said that “final details are being evaluated with staff and the Spokane Education Association.”

The changes must still conform to revised guidance from Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health.

They include the maintenance of 3-foot social distancing in the classroom and 6 feet in other settings, such as lunch, during activities when increased exhalation occurs, like singing, shouting, band practice or physical education; and in common areas such as auditoriums.

Also, staff must maintain 6 feet of distance among themselves and with students.

The district said that because of “guidelines related to middle and high schools in area of high community transmission and the feasibility of complying with the safety guidelines, students in grades 7-12 will continue at this time on a hybrid schedule.”

The Spokane Regional Health District is reporting county case counts above 200 per 100,000 people, complicating the return of older students, most of whom attend multiple classes during the day.

“The unwavering commitment of Spokane Public Schools has been to follow the guidance and regulations of public health officials and return students to in-person instruction as soon as possible,” the district said.

Spokane has more students attending in person than any district in the state.

Most districts in Spokane County have already returned kindergarten through sixth grade to full-time, in-person learning.

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