Projected Timeline for Returning Grades 3-12 to Classrooms

girl in mask graphic

During the December 8th school board meeting district administration presented a projected timeline for safely returning grades 3-12 back to Wenatchee classrooms. The District plans to slowly return grades 3-5 to classrooms one at a time starting December 14 and then returning the remaining students incrementally one week after Winter break.

Projected Reopening Timeline for Grades 3-12

December 14: 3rd-grade students

January 4-8: Week After Winter Break Evaluation Period

January 11: 4th-grade Students

January  20: 5th-grade Students 

January 26: Middle School and High School Students 

Dates are subject to change.

WSD had paused plans for the simultaneous return of grades 3-5 classroom before Thanksgiving for the following reasons:

  • A spike in community COVID rates
  • Staff and student exposures outside of schools were high
  • The health district advised not returning large groups of students back at the same time.
  • Additional evaluation time was necessary to review mitigation protocols to ensure that they could withstand the spike in community COVID rates.

Upon pausing, WSD committed to the weekly review of this decision. Upon deeper evaluation, the District decided to move forward with the slow return of small groups of students by grade level starting with grade 3 on December 14. The district considered the following in the decision-making process. 

  • It is the district’s goal to reopen schools for hybrid learning as safely and as quickly as possible given the many known and established benefits of in-person learning
  • The youngest and most vulnerable must be first to return
  • Every day counts. The social-emotional and academic needs of students matter
  • Schools continue to be safe because of mitigation protocols
  • National/local experts agree that opening schools should be a priority
  • Staffing levels have stabilized
  • Perception survey data collected before Thanksgiving indicated the majority of students, staff, and parents were positive about continuing or returning to school for hybrid.
  • Support of Dr. Peter Houke, an epidemiologist with the Chelan-Douglas Health District

The District is moving forward with plans to return students to the classroom in the midst of a spike in community COVID-19 rates for the following reasons.

  • COVID-19 rates have remained low in schools, even while they have spiked to all-time highs in our community
  • Mitigation works to keep schools safe. Health officials agree that schools remain safe due to the demonstrated effectiveness of mitigation protocols
  • Right now, we are not returning large groups of students to our schools. Instead, we are bringing back individual grades one at a time
  • Smaller groups (30-60) per building allow us to maintain the integrity of mitigation protocols and accommodate more students in the building safely 
  • The slow and methodical approach to returning grades 3-5 will allow us to move forward and not take steps backward

During the board meeting, the Executive Director of Human Resources, Kelly Lopez detailed the daily meditation strategies that happen in schools that have been effective in keeping COVID cases low. She further outlines the action and communication steps that are taken when there is a positive case that impacts schools and/or classrooms. Watch this portion of the school board meeting here.

For students and families not comfortable with returning to school for hybrid instruction, they may transfer to the Wenatchee Internet Academy (WIA). This online school was created specifically to support families and staff who would rather their students continue learning online. There is currently an open enrollment period for Middle and High School Students to transfer to WIA. The deadline for secondary student transfer to WIA is December 18. Enrollments received after December 18 will be waitlisted. Enrollment information can be found on the WIA website wenatcheeschools.org/WIA or by calling (509) 888-5222.

More information on the District's reopening plans is available on the Smart Restart website