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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  K-12 education

Central Valley plans to return grades 7-12 to classroom by Feb. 1

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 12, 2021

University High School main building is seen Jan. 30, 2020 in Spokane Valley. Students will be returning to class beginning Feb. 1, according to new guidelines from the Central Valley School District.  (JESSE TINSLEY)
University High School main building is seen Jan. 30, 2020 in Spokane Valley. Students will be returning to class beginning Feb. 1, according to new guidelines from the Central Valley School District. (JESSE TINSLEY)

The Central Valley School District is moving forward with a plan to bring all students back to buildings for at least one day a week by Feb. 1.

That date is important, according to Superintendent Ben Small, because it’s the first day of the second semester.

“That creates a nice start for our students to finish out the school year,” Small said on Tuesday, a day after the CVSD school board approved a new back-to-school plan.

High school and middle school students will be divided into four cohorts for each grade. Each cohort will attend classes in person one day per week and the rest remotely.

All students will be back to full time by the end of February. Families will have the option of keeping their students home if they feel uncomfortable in school buildings, Small emphasized.

“It is a priority for us to ensure that as we transition to in-person learning, we are making direct daily contact with our students,” Small said in a letter to families sent late Monday night. “This allows for the continuity of teaching and learning that our teachers have effectively provided thus far.”

“In the ensuing days, we will continue to work with building administration with regard to rolling out of the hybrid schedule to our 7-12th grade staff and families. Therefore, there will be follow-up communication about schedules as we move forward with this plan,” Small said.

As Central Valley, Spokane Public Schools and other districts move forward with plans for phasing in secondary students, they’re doing so with support from the Spokane Regional Health District and its health officer.

According to health officer Dr. Francisco Velazquez, much has changed since September, when the area’s two largest districts, Spokane and Central Valley, began the year with distance learning only.

“We’re watching the data closely and have specific expectations of the school districts within our guidance,” Velazquez said.

“The intent of these expectations is to assure the community of the school district’s ability to safely manage the additional student body while maintaining pandemic health measures,” Velazquez said. “We feel confident in the plans these school districts have developed.”

Velazquez outlined three key reasons for this decision:

  • School districts have a year of experience developing, implementing and evaluating measures to keep students, staff and families safe while conducting in-person learning. These tested processes and procedures can be carried forth with further phasing in.
  • With COVID-19 vaccination efforts under way, the health district expects to see COVID-19 metrics improve. Health officials also noted the upcoming vaccinations of faculty and staff .
  • In-person learning addresses needs for social and emotional learning and skill development, concerns of child safety and academic inequities among those with limited access to technology – all needs that regular interaction with school employees identify.
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