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By Beka Compton
The Times 

Waitsburg & Prescott School Districts to return to full-time, in-person instruction April 19

The transition to full-time instruction follows updated guidance from the CDC, DOH


WAITSBURG—On March 15, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee released an emergency proclamation concerning updates to school reopening plans. The directive stated that all schools in Washington State must offer in-person instruction for elementary students by April 5, and in-person instruction for high school students by April 19.

On March 25, the Washington State Department of Health adopted guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that lessened the six foot physical distancing requirement to three feet. The CDC stated that three-feet of distancing amongst students is safe so long as there is not high community transmission. As of March 30, Walla Walla County has a COVID-19 positivity rate of 2.4%, and 26 active cases.

As of March 30, there were 154 Washington State elementary schools that offered a hybrid learning model- part in-person and part online. More than 200,000 students attend part-time class, according to the Office for the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Three school districts (13,399 students) were attending 100% remote learning, and 73 districts (nearly 40,000 students) were already attending “traditional” instruction models. The districts operating on a traditional model had the highest attendance rates, with 88.4% of students enrolled for in-person instruction weekly. The number varied slightly for Washington middle and high schools, but hybrid models were still the leading instruction type.

Following the announcement, the Waitsburg School Board voted to approve a full reopening, starting Monday, April 19. Currently, the Waitsburg School District has Group A classes on Monday and Tuesday, and Group B Classes on Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday reserved for deep cleaning and targeted assistance.

Superintendent Mark Pickel said that plans are still being finalized, as of Tuesday, March 30, plans are for students to return to class starting April 19, Monday-Friday, from 8:30 a.m- 3:00 p.m. The change will affect all students in grades K-12. Students who are not comfortable with returning to full time, in-person instruction have the option to transition to online classes. Students must be academically successful in order to switch to online instruction.

Modifications to the school schedule may include changes to time and spacing of class transitions, seating on buses, classroom arrangements, food services, and meal schedules.

Detailed information began going home with students on Tuesday, March 30, and will be available during parent-teacher conferences.

If parents or guardians have any questions, please contact the Waitsburg School District office at (509) 337-6301.

The Prescott School Board also voted to transition to full-time, in-person instruction starting April 19. At the March 25 board meeting, school board members approved the transition with a 4-0 vote, and the district is finalizing details.


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