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Administrators with Evergreen Public Schools unveil plan for in-person learning

Students in Kindergarten to the fifth grade could return to the classroom between Jan. 19 and Feb. 1.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — In just two weeks, if Clark County coronavirus numbers continue to decrease, kids in Evergreen Public Schools will start returning to the classroom.

"I think there is a genuine excitement to have students coming back in and to start resuming some sense of normalcy," said Gail Spolar, Communications Director for Evergreen Public Schools. 

According to Spolar, beginning Jan. 19, kindergartners, who have been in the classroom since September, will get even more in-class time. First graders will also return to school for two days a week. On Jan. 25, second and third graders will return. Fourth and fifth graders will follow on Feb. 1. 

District leaders say there are so many positives to coming back to school.

"Just the ability to interact with their teachers and each other," said Spolar. "Have the experience of having PE, music, going to our media centers."

All of it will be COVID-safe. In addition to staff and students wearing masks, the district has acquired a lot of plexiglass and stickers to encourage social distancing and proper movement around the buildings.

"We feel we have the policies and procedures in place," said Spolar. "We've also worked out the mechanism for having parents let us know their children are feeling well or not feeling well."

"We really need the support of the community to get the community spread numbers down," added Bill Beville, President of the Evergreen Education Association.

Beville is pleading with the community to social distance and wear masks so a return to the classroom is possible, especially since vaccine distribution is slower than expected.

"We do know we're considered essential workers," said Beville. "We'll be able to get the vaccine when it becomes available to us. The logistics of that have not been shared with us yet."

The school district is also in the dark about when teachers will be vaccinated. In all likelihood, a return to the classroom will come first, at least in a limited capacity.

"Are we looking at full-time school by the end of the school year? We'll be working with Clark County Public Health and watching the state's guidelines moving forward," said Spolar.

If things trend in the right direction, middle schoolers and high schoolers may return to in-person learning two days a week in February or March.

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