Here’s when local school districts plan to bring more students back for in-person learning

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — With New Year’s behind and winter break coming to an end, families are getting ready for their students to learn again. 

A majority of students in Spokane County are still not back in class, and that will continue after the new year. 

A week before winter break, Governor Jay Inslee recommended districts bring back students K-5. Schools in eastern Washington are working on those plans, with families and students eager to head back. 

RELATED: Gov Inslee says ‘it is time’ to bring K-5 students back into the classroom 

READ: Report: Rate of COVID transmission decreasing in Washington, Idaho

The last time Xander Merkley attended school in person was last March. 

“It’s finally time,” said Xander. 

Well, almost time. As a fourth grader, Xander gets to head back to class on January 14th in the Central Valley School District. 

Kindergarten through third grades were phased in before winter break. 

I was praying before the school year started but my mom told me they’re probably going to do online and then I’m like ‘aw, come on,’” said Xander. 

While fourth graders make their return in mid-January, fifth graders will actually have to wait a little longer. Sixth graders are scheduled to return on January 14th, as well, pending the Spokane Regional Health District’s approval.

Fifth graders would be returning after sixth graders on January 21.

A CVSD spokesperson said this is is because fourth and sixth graders are in separate buildings.

“That gives a week between the fourth and fifth graders at the elementary and starts the sixth graders at the middle school, since they are in separate staff buildings with separate staff,” Marla Nunberg said, the district’s public information officer.

In the Pullman School District, kindergartners and first graders get to head back Monday on a hybrid schedule. 

This is the first time since March students there – without special circumstances – get to be in a classroom again. 

That’s a relief to mom Natalie Fisher, who has five kids attending the district. 

“I put it in this color coded excel sheet and I counted the zooms, I have 70 scheduled zooms a week at my house,” said Fisher, “and I just felt, the first week was really rough trying to keep track, and you know, people miss stuff, people were late. Then you sort of get into the groove where you kind of know and the older kids can take care of their own schedule for the most part.” 

Her first grader gets to finally go back Monday. 

“Yes, it’s only going to be two days a week, it’s only a hybrid model for now, but I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Fisher. 

Report: In-person learning not linked to significant COVID-19 transmission, dependent on community spread

Pullman schools is planning to phase in second and third grade students on Jan. 19. Fourth and fifth graders are slated to return as soon as Feb. 1. 

The West Valley School District plans to bring 4th graders back on Jan. 14, phasing students in over two days. Fifth graders will do the same on the 21st. 

In the Cheney School District, third graders are slated to return Jan. 19, phasing kids in for two days. Fourth and fifth graders are tentatively scheduled to head back Feb. 1. 

Spokane Public Schools is still working on its plans for third through fifth graders. Those will be announced Wednesday.

RELATED: Spokane Schools beginning plans to bring 3-5 graders back to in-person learning

RELATED: Spokane Public Schools to continue following health official recommendations, waiting to phase in grades 6-12