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What parents need to know about return for Spokane-area middle and high school students

Spokane Public Schools is welcoming middle and high school students back to classrooms in a hybrid model beginning March 1. Here's what parents should know.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Thousands of middle and high school students in Spokane walked through their school doors for the first time in nearly a year on Monday, March 1.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee first announced a statewide closure of schools on March 13, 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Months later, Spokane Public Schools and other districts in the area began welcoming back younger students with safety precautions in place. 

SPS has been slowly phasing students back into the classroom since October. The process began with kindergarten, then progressed up the ladder to other grades. 

SPS is now allowing middle and high school students back into the classroom in a hybrid model beginning March 1. This means students will spend some days learning remotely and others in-person. SPS is going with this format to reduce student populations in schools in order to meet health and safety requirements.

The Central Valley School District will allow middle and high school students to return two days per week beginning March 1.

Here's what parents need to know about the return for both districts. 

Schedule

Spokane Public Schools

Middle school will start at 9 a.m. and end at 2:55 p.m. for SPS students. High school will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 1:55 p.m. 

Students will attend school on an alternating A/B schedule. Students were placed in A and B groups based on their home address number, SPS said. Students with even numbered homes are in Group A and students with odd numbered homes are in Group B.

The schedules for Group A and Group B are available on the SPS website. 

Central Valley School District

CVSD middle and high school students will also transition to an A/B schedule on March 1, with two days of in-person learning every week, according to the district's website

Schedules for each school should have been already outlined by the principal. 

COVID-19 safety protocols

Spokane Public Schools

SPS has a variety of safety protocols in place for its students:

  • At least 30 minutes before the start of school each day, families must complete the student health check.
  • Students and staff will wear face coverings all day. Disposable masks will be provided to those who don't have one when they arrive.
  • Students and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands frequently.
  • Classrooms will be set up to support social distancing.
  • Classrooms and high touch areas will be cleaned frequently.
  • Students showing any symptoms will be sent home.

Central Valley School District

CVSD has outlined what parents can expect from the district regarding COVID-19. 

Parents will be contacted directly from the school to pick up their child if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

They will also be notified by a recorded phone call and/or an email if:

  • Another student in their child’s class has exhibited symptoms and is isolating/being tested.

  • Their child has been identified as a close contact of someone who is being tested and needs to quarantine.

  • A student in their child’s class is tested. Parents will be notified of the result of that test and next steps from that result.

  • There is a confirmed case in their student’s class.

  • There are two or more positive cases in a 14-day period in their child’s class and the class will be quarantining and shifting to online learning.

  • In grades seven through 12, if their child shares a classroom with a positive case and needs to be quarantined.

  • There are enough quarantined classrooms at their child’s school that the entire school will be quarantining and shifting to online learning.

Mixed reactions about SPS return

There have been mixed emotions on the timing while students make preparations for their return.

“I personally have a fairly negative opinion about going back at this point,” said Kathryn Dunakey, a senior at North Central High School who takes five Advanced Placement classes. 

The adjustment to virtual learning hasn’t been too much of a challenge for her throughout the pandemic. She’s already been accepted into a university and the main thing she needs to do now is pass her AP classes. 

“I would enjoy getting to go to prom at some point, but it’s not honestly my priority because school is ultimately about getting an education," Dunakey said.