SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools intends to bring fifth-and-sixth-grade students back to full-time in-person instruction by April 28, according to a presentation given by district administrators to the board on Wednesday night.
Those students are currently in a part-time hybrid model but will soon be joining their younger peers in kindergarten through 4th grade who are already in physical classrooms all week.
To facilitate the move, 5th-and-6th-grade classrooms will go from 6-foot distancing to just 3 feet between desks, in accordance with new guidelines from the CDC and Washington state. The CDC still recommends 6 feet between staff and between staff and students. It also recommends 6 feet of distance for students during certain circumstances, such as when they are eating.
Six feet of distance will still be required for Spokane students in common areas such as lunchrooms, and in areas where heavy breathing is required such as exercise areas or music rooms.
Grades 7 through 12 will remain in a hybrid model. This is in part because Spokane currently has fairly high rates of COVID-19 transmission. Classrooms for grades 7 through 12 will remain at 6-foot distancing for the same reason.
Classrooms for kindergarten through 4th grade will also remain at 6-foot distancing. These students have already returned to in-person learning full-time and do not require the extra space from reduced distancing, according to SPS administration.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced in March that all school districts in the state must meet at least 30% average weekly instructional hours as on-campus learning for all students. No student can be offered fewer than two, partial days of in-person learning.