Willapa Valley school

Willapa Valley School District in North Pacific County

Willapa Valley plans return to classrooms Sept. 23

{child_byline}By JEFF CLEMENS

For the Observer{/child_byline}

MENLO — The Willapa Valley School District will be the first in the county to have students return to classrooms beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

The decision comes after Pacific County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Steven Krager issued a letter on Thursday, Sept. 17, authorizing districts to resume in-class learning for elementary-aged children in a phased approach.

“With the encouraging overall change in rates of community transmission [of covid-19] since late July, Pacific County Public Health supports schools in planning to operate within DOH guidelines,” Krager stated in the letter.

Willapa Valley will begin in-class instruction with grades Kindergarten through 2nd on Wednesday, Sept. 23, followed by the addition of grades three and four on Tuesday, Sept. 29, and grades five and six on Monday, Oct. 5.

“Reopening schools is not a simple task,” Willapa Valley Superintendent Nancy Morris stated. “This rolling start allows the transportation staff and the food service staff to transition in an orderly fashion.”

Morris continued, “we are so happy to see this new plan become possible, and we hope that a continued downward trend in the county infection metrics will eventually allow our upper-level students to begin to return to school, as well.”

There is no timeline for when middle school and high school students might return to in-person instruction as well.

The decision to allow students to return to in-person instruction is based on the Washington State Department of Health recommendations.

The guidelines are comprised of three levels based on covid-19 activity in the county: low, moderate, and high.

Pacific County is currently at a moderate level, allowing districts to begin phasing in in-person learning, starting with elementary-aged children. Once the county reaches the lower-level, districts can begin full-time learning for elementary students and a hybrid learning approach for older students.

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