Wenatchee schools apply to begin some in-class instruction for younger students

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The Wenatchee School District has asked for the go-ahead to start returning some students to the classroom.

The district has submitted an “exception request” to the Chelan-Douglas Health District to begin a combination of online/in-person instruction beginning with pre-K to second-grade students.

The district says those younger students are the most academically vulnerable.

“Additional elementary grades would progressively be added as it becomes safe to do so,” the district said in a statement. “Middle and high school students would be added in the future as COVID rates remain stable.”

The district has been operating on an online-only model since last spring, when the COVID-19 virus began spreading in the region.

School officials are preparing plans for a safe transition to the hybrid model as they await health district approval, the district said.

They also will be sending out a survey next week to the parents of students fifth grade and younger to gauge their comfort level with returning their students to school through a hybrid model.

Schools and local health districts are allowed to make a determination on in-class instruction, though state guidance say they should look for a coronavirus new cases report of 75 positive tests per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days.

Chelan County currently shows a rate of 174.9 cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks. But that rate has been falling sharply in the past few weeks after topping out at over 400 cases per 100,000 residents earlier this summer.