‘Now it’s real’: CVSD students and staff excited for 5-day return, in-person graduation

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — After a year of change, more changes are coming for students in the Central Valley School District. Starting next month, 7th through 12th graders will be going to school every day.

Custodians at Central Valley High School were seen bringing in more desks and chairs into classrooms Tuesday afternoon.

It’s a small move, but a big deal for students in the district.

University High senior Moses Femino never thought he’d be excited to spend more time in class.

“When you’re at school, it’s awesome. But, when you go home, and you’re kind of lazy, I don’t know,” he told 4 News Now.

He’s ready to sit in class for five days a week instead of just two. On Monday night, the Central Valley School board voted to bring students in 7th through 12th grade back in class for five days a week.

“It’s super exciting to see all my friends and see all the teachers. I like to make that connection, usually, and I haven’t been able to do that as well this year,” he said.

Starting April 12, he’ll get to do that again.

Central Valley High principal Kerri Ames is excited to see nearly 2,000 of her students walk through the building at the same time again. It’s happening thanks to social distancing guidelines being relaxed in classrooms.

RELATED: Gov. Inslee relaxes social distancing guidelines in schools to 3 feet apart

Students can now sit in class three feet apart from each other as long as they wear masks. Space between students and staff still must be six feet.

“I think all of us in our community realized how important our schools are to us. We want to be together, we want to have those strong relationships and Zoom calls just don’t get it done,” she told 4 News Now.

It still won’t be back to normal, though. Masks are still required, and high school students will only be in class for half the day.

Once it hits lunchtime, around noon, high schoolers will be have to grab lunch and then go home and do assignments from there.

Ames says they can’t safely fit everyone in the lunch room at the same time, since they still have to be six feet apart.

“We just feel like it’s a better transition for students to have that consistent learning time with those classes beginning at 7:40 a.m. and ending around noon,” she said.

Moses wishes they can get back to a normal schedule, but he’s grateful for what he can get.

“The last few weeks, I’ve been kind of getting more hope because people were being able to come to sports. I was getting a little bit of hope, but now it’s real,” he said.

In addition to being back in class every day, he’ll now be able to experience one of the most important milestones for a high schooler: Graduation.

The district said graduation will be in-person in just a few months.

Both University High and Central Valley High will hold its ceremonies on its respective football fields instead of the McCarthey Center, where they usually hold it. The other smaller high schools will also be holding graduation on either one of those fields.

“It kind of gives me motivation to get to the end of the year and get going and not slack off,” Moses said.

Ames said students will only get to have two guest tickets for graduation, but a change from last year, nonetheless.

“We’re excited because we get to have graduation in our own community. So, we’ll be working and planning with our district office staff and maintenance to set up a really safe and beautiful venue for parents to watch their kids graduate,” she added.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Central Valley 7th to 12th graders moving to in-person learning five days a week

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