Central Valley will soon bring back first graders for in-person learning

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — The Central Valley School District is allowing more students inside of the classroom. Starting this week, first grade students will be able to return to school for full time in-person learning.

Lucinda Sporleder has been a teacher for more than 30 years. This is the first time she’s had to teach her students completely online.

“I just miss seeing them in person. That’s been the hard thing for me,” said Sporleder.

“Virtual learning has been a challenge for every age of elementary student,” said Lindsay Kent, Principal at Greenacres Elementary.

Two weeks ago, the Central Valley School District decided to allow kindergarten students inside of the classroom.

“It’s actually been going amazingly well,” said Kent.

Because of how well it’s been, they figured why not bring back first graders, too?

“That coupled with the fact that the rate of virus with those 4 to 6-year-old students has been so low, that we felt it was a safe decision to bring them back,” said Kent.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t taking things seriously. The district has come up with specific guidelines in order to keep everybody safe.

“When they come into the classroom they do keep their masks on and they stay six feet apart,” Kent said.

“The kindergarten teachers came up with a really cute way to separate the kids and they do monster hands. One of my first graders said well, I’m going to call it zombie hands,” said Sporleder.

On top of that, students will be coming back to school using a phased approach. Half will be returning on Wednesday. The other half will start on Thursday.

“So that they can teach the change of routine because this is obviously different than how we have done school in the past,” said Kent.

While all of these changes may come with their challenges, Sporleder says being able to see her students face-to-face is what makes it all worth it.

“We want it to succeed so we’re willing to do those things to make it successful and keep kids safe,” she said.