The Anacortes School District has decided to delay the planned in-person return of students in grades 4-5, who were expected to return to school buildings next Monday.
The district based its decision on increased coronavirus cases in Skagit County. Students in grades K-3 returned to limited in-person instruction earlier this week and those students will continue their hybrid in-person and remote schedule.
The district’s decision is based on the recommendation from the Skagit County Department of Health, which has seen a sharp increase on the number of coronavirus cases recently. Skagit County is reporting 89.8 cases per 100,000 people as of November 2. The county’s website shows lagging data; however county officials have been in constant communication with the district. In order to move to the next step of reopening, the two-week average must remain between 25-75 cases per 100,000 people.
“We have strict safety and sanitizing procedures in place for the students who are currently receiving in-person instruction,” Superintendent Justin Irish said, in an announcement. “This decision is made out of an abundance of caution in order to limit the number of staff and students on our campuses.”
The district will continue to monitor the cases throughout the county, and will reassess its plans, though, based on the district’s decision matrix, it is unlikely that more students will return to in-person learning before January, 2021.
The district continues to provide limited in-person instruction for students in all grades who receive special education services, English language support, and other special services.
“I know this is disappointing news to our staff, students, and families, who have been looking forward to welcoming more students back into our buildings, especially after such a successful return of our youngest learners,” said Dr. Irish. “I urge everyone to remain vigilant against the virus: wear a mask, get a flu shot, limit in-person social interactions, wash your hands.”