Wenatchee will return 3rd graders to classrooms Dec. 14, with more grades to follow

Wenatchee School District photo

The Wenatchee School District will return more students to in-class instruction beginning Dec. 14.

Pre-K-through-second-graders are currently attending classes in-person on a part-time schedule and third-graders will be the next to join them, Superintendent Dr. Paul Gordon announced in a press release Friday.

The school board will meet next Tuesday to consider a timeline for resuming classes for grades 4-12, he said.

“We intend to add one grade level at a time to avoid overwhelming our system with too many students, too quickly and risk increasing infection rates,” Gordon said. 

The return of more students to schools comes as Chelan County is experiencing its biggest spike in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

On Friday, the Chelan-Douglas Health District reported 145 new positive tests in Chelan County, and 226 new cases for the two counties. Those were the highest one-day numbers by almost 100 cases for the two counties.

“While the infection rates have increased in our community and across the state, health professionals agree that schools continue to be safe places due to the strict adherence to mitigation strategies; health screening before arrival on campus, handwashing, masking, cleaning and disinfecting, and social distancing, Gordon said. “WSD continues to work in partnership with local health departments to support contact tracing to help prevent the continued spread of COVID-19.”

Other school districts in Chelan County have already begun returning more students to in-class instruction in some form, including Cashmere, Lake Chelan and Entiat school districts.