Wenatchee will start some in-class instruction for preschool through second grade students on Monday, Nov. 2.
After communitywide COVID-19 testing showed about a 1 percent positive rate in Wenatchee, the district said they consulted with the Chelan-Douglas Health District and decided to start returning students to the classrooms.
If COVID-19 rates remain low to moderate, the district will look at returning grades 3-5 in three weeks with other grades to follow, the Wenatchee School District said in a press release.
The classes will operate under a hybrid model, with some daily in-person instruction and some online.
Half the students in a class will be on-site in the morning and the other half in the afternoon, the district said.
Parents uncomfortable with their children returning will be given the option of full-time online classes through the Wenatchee Internet Academy.
“We are excited to return our students to our schools,” said Wenatchee Superintendent Dr. Paul Gordon. “We recognize that online learning is challenging for our youngest scholars and that this move will support students’ academic and social emotional wellbeing.”
The district said students returning to school will have daily health screenings and be required to wear face coverings. In addition, there will be social distancing whenever possible, frequent hand-washing and regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces.
State guidelines have recommended no more than 75 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days before resuming classroom instruction.
The Chelan-Douglas region has not achieved that mark yet, reporting today the two counties are at 163.3 per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks. That’s up from the 136.8 per 100,000 reported last week.
But the health district said a lot of that can be attributed to aggressive communitywide testing throughout the two counties in recent weeks.
Another key metric from the state was the percentage of positive tests, with the 1 percent number within state guidelines.