Odessa principal pleads with Gov. Inslee to allow return of after-school activities statewide

ODESSA, Wash. — The two largest regions in Washington got the go-ahead last week to move forward, bringing back after-school activities. But not Eastern Washington. 

Odessa High School has been doing some form of in-person learning since school started last fall. With after school activities still halted, some in the community say it’s time to get kids back to doing what they love. 

“Whatever the kids’ jam is, they need the opportunity to get involved again,” said Odessa High School Principal Jamie Nelson. “It’s so important for kids’ social, emotional health to have interactions.” 

Nelson says in-person schooling isn’t enough to keep kids motivated. 

“Take away their sports, their activities, they have nothing to look forward to,” said Nelson. 

That’s why she’s pushing to get her 229 student back to normal, reaching out to Governor Inslee and pleading with him to open up more of the state’s schools. 

Nelson says Odessa has been back to in-person learning for months now, and they haven’t seem one COVID case within schools between September to January. 

Seniors at Odessa are happy they’re learning in person, but say they’re ready for a new experiment. 

“I think as long we keep wearing our masks and social distancing, then there’s no problem in doing after school activites, sports and coming to school,” said senior Maddie Scrupps. 

“I’ve already missed out on so much,” said Pilot Weishaar, another senior. “It would mean a lot.” 

Not everyone is sure bringing back activities is what’s best. 

“I don’t think it’s time,” said Jeff Wehr, who teaches high school science. Wehr says he was nervous about coming back in September, but is open to trying something new. 

“I wasn’t sure we should get together with school, and here we are. So maybe, let’s test it,” said Wehr. 

The school is currently meeting five days a week for in-person learning.

READ: Odessa principal calls out Gov. Inslee for ‘nonsensical’ decision to let only some schools resume sports