Spokane Public Schools sees low COVID-19 transmission rates, prepares to welcome more students back

SPOKANE, Wash. — First and second grade students in Spokane could be back in the classroom within a few weeks. 

Spokane Public Schools announced the plan during a meeting Wednesday. Superintendent Adam Swinyard says the district is not seeing significant spread of the virus amount the 2,000 Kindergarten and special needs students that are already in schools. 

When Kindergarten students went back to school October 7, they wore masks, kept their distance, and washed their hands. 

Still, some were concerned that bringing over 2,000 students and staff members back would result in a surge of cases. However, that hasn’t been the case. 

“I’m happy to report we’ve had hardly any cases in our schools and that’s the factors Dr. Lutz is looking for,” said SPS Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson. 

In the last three and a half weeks, there have been 34 confirmed cases in the district. 

“This is any positive case in which the individual tested positive and entered the school for any amount of time,” said Swinyard. 

Of those 34 people infected, only one caught the virus while in a school building, according to to contact tracing. 

“You can see we’ve had one in this three-week window; we think that’s reflective of staff following protocols, robust contact tracing, six-foot social distancing,” said Swinyard. 

And the fact that students and teachers are wearing masks. 

The Mead School District is also seeing success. It brought all students back in mid-September. 

“We’ve been in school for 38 days or so,” said Mead School District Superintendent Shawn Woodward. “We’ve had 36 confirmed cases during that time.” 

That’s among 7,300 students and 1,000 staff members. 

Spokane Public Schools laid out its plan to bring more students back to the classroom. First graders will return November 9 on an alternating schedule through November 20. Second graders will return November 30th if transmission rates stay down.

READ: Spokane Public Schools to begin phasing first graders into the classroom Nov. 9