Fires force districts to postpone school year

Fires force districts to postpone school year

As thousands of school kids headed back to class this week across Washington, several hundred were kept at home.

Wildfires burning in northeastern Washington prompted Republic, Wellpinit, and Columbia (Hunters) school districts to push the start date to September 8 while Nespelem schools pushed back its start date to September 10.

Wellpinit Middle and High School Principal Kris Herda says many of their students live near the Carpenter Road Fire and safety for bus routes was a concern. Herda also says that fire equipment on the roads also was a factor in their decision.

“One of our students I know was evacuated and they were allowed to go back, and then they were evacuated again,” Herda said. “So many of our students down on the west end are highly involved in this and those who are up near Springdale are looking at the same thing.”

Students in the Wellpinit district will miss about seven days of class. Herda says that they will likely make up those days but adds they will apply for a waiver from the state because they were under a state of emergency. The district could use snow days but they worry about what winter may bring.

“I see us trying to make up as many as we can but also keeping in mind we don’t want to keep them here until the 4th of July,” Herda said.

Friday’s high school football game at Wellpinit has been canceled and will be rescheduled, as will the school’s first high school volleyball match.

The district will meet with Carpenter Road Fire officials on Friday and decide for sure if school will begin on Sept. 8.