As we approach the final semester in what has been a very challenging year, I want to thank you for your ongoing partnership with our teachers and school staff. Today, I want to give you assurance that Central Valley School District will continue to follow the guidance and requirements set by Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) as we continue to reopen schools and welcome our students back to classrooms and in-person activities. As the local health authority for Spokane County, we rely on SRHD’s scientific approach of how COVID-19 is spreading in our community and their understanding of the importance of reopening schools for in-person teaching and learning.
Based on careful planning and following protocols, as of this Thursday, kindergarten through 6th grade students in our district will have the option of attending school in person all day every school day. Since September, this phased-in approach has been accomplished by following protocols outlined by SRHD, adhering to requirements from Washington Department of Labor & Industries, and by working under proclamation orders from the Governor. Additionally, Central Valley has exceeded requirements in some areas, such as installing MERV 13 air filters in ventilation systems throughout the District.
At their recent board meeting, Central Valley School District Board of Directors unanimously approved a phased approach to returning our 7th - 12th grade students to in-person learning. In the first phase, beginning on February 1, our 7th - 12th grade students will have the option of staying in a virtual environment or attending school in person one day a week while maintaining a virtual connection with their teachers the other four days. The second phase will begin on March 1 with students transitioning to an A/B schedule and two days of in-person learning every week.
The phased-in approach that we have adopted for 7th - 12th grades was designed by the schools team at SRHD and incorporated feedback from regional school districts. One of the key considerations to this phased-in approach is social distancing requirements and the size of classrooms and available space in our schools for the number of students who will return to in-person learning. For example, at our largest high schools that means 400-500 students at a time returning in phase one and 800-1,000 students in phase two, as we safely phase in our in-person learning.
As we move through the phases of reopening schools in Central Valley, I have heard from parents who believe we are moving too fast and from families who believe we are moving too slowly. As a school system, we understand the layers of protocols we have in place are critical to a safer return to in-person learning. School districts throughout the state of Washington have a responsibility to work with local health authorities and Central Valley has, and will continue to, work closely with Spokane Regional Health District to safely reopen schools.
Detailed student information for 7th – 12th grades will be sent directly to families from schools. I encourage you to stay in close contact with your children’s teachers and school principal, they are most familiar with your children and school-specific information.
I also encourage you to visit our district website for information about the upcoming phases and timelines along with general information regarding school this year.