Clark County’s smaller school districts are starting to formulate new reopening plans to welcome more students back into buildings after winter break.
On Monday, the Camas School District Board of Directors unanimously approved Superintendent Jeff Snell’s updated timeline, which includes five grade levels receiving in-person learning in groups no larger than 15 students twice a week by Feb. 1.
The news comes after Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement last week revising state guidelines for reopening schools. New metrics say counties with the highest COVID-19 activity, such as Clark County, should phase in in-person learning instruction by limiting groups to no more than 15 students. The state recommends students in kindergarten through third grade and students with disabilities or experiencing homelessness or other socioeconomic factors should be prioritized before adding other grades.
In Camas, students in kindergarten through second grade return Jan. 19, followed by third- and sixth-graders on Feb. 1. Snell said the district is leaping ahead to bring in sixth-grade students before all remaining elementary school students to give sixth-graders building familiarity as first-time middle school students, he said.
“They need to know the lay of the land at the school,” he said.
Students in grades four, five and seven through 12, phased in by need, are set to begin in-person groups Feb. 16.
Snell said Monday the next three months are critical transition months for his district.
“With this timeline, it won’t be perfect, but it does give our talented staff time to really deliver on some things for our kids,” he said.
In Washougal, the district said it is making phased-in plans for its K-3 students to be in buildings by Jan. 19. Last week, Woodland Public Schools said it will return its three elementary schools, which serve students in grades K-4, to hybrid learning Jan. 5. The district first brought its elementary students into a hybrid setting in October before rising COVID-19 cases forced the district to return students to remote learning.