SPOKANE, Wash — As coronavirus cases continue to rise across Washington and Idaho, school districts are starting to make changes to their back to school plans.
About a month ago, some schools decided to bring younger students back into classrooms while others have been doing hybrid learning.
Here’s a list of schools in Eastern Washington and North Idaho who are making change to their plans:
East Valley School District
The East Valley School District announced Friday that students will transition to virtual learning starting Monday, Nov. 16 due to an increase in COVID-19 related absences within the district.
According to a note to families and staff, students will continue virtual learning for at least two weeks.
“When county COVID-19 cases improve and we are able to adequately staff for a safe and efficient operation of the district, we will then plan for a return to in-person instruction,” the note says.
The decision was made by Superintendent Kelly Shea and not the Spokane Regional Health District, according to the note.
“This decision is based on our inability to provide enough staff to operate due to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in our district and the number of staff who have been placed in quarantine as a result of being exposed to someone who has tested positive,” the note reads. “Though our number of positive cases have significantly increased this week, we still have not found evidence of the virus being transmitted within our schools, though it remains a possibility.”
According to Shea, there's been 13 positive COVID-19 cases since Nov. 2. He said 53 staff and 217 students are in quarantine.
Mead School District
The Mead School District will begin virtual learning on Fridays starting Dec. 4 for middle and high school students.
The district said on its website that the decision was made following feedback gained in district-wide surveys for teachers and families and focus groups with staff.
Starting Dec. 4, on Fridays, all secondary hybrid students will attend a 6-period “remote” day each week from home, according to the district.
Mead is the largest district in the state to be offering full in-person learning.
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Coeur d’Alene School District
Staffing shortages due to COVID-19 have forced one Coeur d'Alene school online, while others will soon switch to a blended learning model.
On Friday, the district decided to move Venture High School to the Red risk level, temporarily shifting all teaching and learning to the at-home model.
The district said this will be in effect Nov. 6-20. Their goal is to resolve the staffing challenge over the next two weeks and have students return to in-person instruction starting Monday, November 30.
Coeur d'Alene Public Schools decided on Wednesday to close Northwest Expedition Academy temporarily because of staffing issues from COVID-19 infections. The district also announced that middle schools in the district would be reverting back to blended learning amid coronavirus cases in the district.
In a release sent to families, the district said the change for middle schools would begin on Nov. 30 and was caused in part by "current levels of staff and student absences," which the district said it believes will continue.
As of Wednesday, the district said it has 34 students and 28 employees in isolation with coronavirus, with another 524 students and 76 staff members in quarantine due to having close contact with a positive coronavirus case.
Half of the district's middle school students will attend in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday, with the other half attending in-person Thursday and Friday. The district added that if staffing shortages increase, it may have to implement the blended learning model for individual middle school sooner than Nov. 30.
Moses Lake School District
Moses Lake School District posted to their website saying all Middle Schools will begin temporary remote learning on Monday Nov. 16.
All three middle schools in the Moses Lake School District including, Chief Moses, Endeavor Middle School, and Frontier Middle School will temporarily shift to fully remote learning through Nov. 27, and return on Monday, Nov. 30, the website says.
The district says they will continue to monitor and assess COVID-19 levels at all schools throughout the district, including the elementary schools and Moses Lake High School in the coming weeks and adapt as necessary.
West Valley School District
The West Valley School District said Monday they are suspending plans to bring fourth and fifth grade students due to guidance from the Spokane Regional Health District.
Last week, the district brought third graders back for in-person learning.