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Revised State Guidelines Announced: State Dept. of Health Relaxes In-person Instruction Metrics

The Washington State Department of Health announced yesterday significant changes to its guidelines for when school districts can offer greater in-person instruction. These reflect the experience of schools that have successfully served students in buildings, as well as an evolving scientific understanding of how this virus impacts schools and communities.

Dr. Wade Smith, Superintendent of Walla Walla Public Schools:

"The Governor’s new guidance provides much-needed clarity around when and how Walla Walla Public Schools can increase the availability of in-person instruction. The district will carefully evaluate this new information over the winter break, then work collaboratively with staff and our local Department of Community Health to determine what adjustments we should make to our existing roadmap for bringing kids back to schools. In the near term, we anticipate changes will prioritize our most fragile students, younger learners and those older students who are being least well-served under the existing remote learning circumstances.” 

Derek Sarley, President, WWPS Board of Directors:

“We know remote learning has been a struggle for many students and families. This new guidance resolves a growing tension between the very conservative metrics of the state’s previous model and the successful experience many districts have had in safely offering greater opportunities for in-person instruction. These changes represent a significant shift in the guidance we’ve received, so the Board will seek substantial parent and community feedback as it develops new models that incorporate these changes.”

WALLA WALLA PUBLIC SCHOOLS • 364 South Park St. • Walla Walla, WA 99362 • Phone: 509-527-3000 • Fax: 509.529.7713

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