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Waitsburg Schools to return to in-person instruction

COVID-19 numbers support an earlier-than-expected reopening


September 24, 2020

WAITSBURG—Waitsburg School District will be returning to in-person instruction on Monday, October 5.

The decision to reopen schools for in-person instruction, which many school and health department officials believed would wait until the end of the first quarter, was an ‘unexpected surprise’ to Superintendent Mark Pickel.

Superintendent Pickel announced the reopening on September 17, following a school board meeting. In a public notice, he stated the decision was made in collaboration with the faculty, school board, and the Walla Walla County Department of Health after careful review of data from the county and community.

‘We were originally planning on a return at the end of the first quarter, but the numbers supported a faster timeline for return.’ Pickel wrote in a release. ‘It was an unexpected surprise! We are very excited to have students back on our campus.’

Details have not been finalized, but students should anticipate having a hybrid schedule, modeled after the originally-proposed AA/BB schedule. Students will attend two days of in-person instruction and three days of distance learning, with reduced class sizes. Social distancing and screening protocols will be in place, and students will be required to wear face coverings.

‘I would prefer that we could all come back right now, but our classrooms are just small enough, and our class sizes are just large enough that we cannot meet the 6-foot physical distance requirement in most of our classroom,’ Pickel wrote.

Waitsburg School District will be working closely with county health officials and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington State Department of Health, and Governor Inslee’s office to stay up to date with current pandemic data and protocols.


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