Spokane Public Schools to continue following health official recommendations, waiting to phase in grades 6-12

SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s been nine months since many students in Spokane have seen the inside of a classroom.

“It’s kind of frustrating, too. You know, just because you don’t know, the uncertainty,” said Christal Sinzdak, a mom of three Spokane Public Schools students.

That uncertainty will continue through winter break for many parents in Spokane. However, there is good news from some parents. Students in third through fifth grade with SPS will likely be heading back into the classroom soon.

As for the rest of the students, plans have yet to be announced.

“It’s been complicated at times and stressful,” Sinzdak said, describing what school has been like for her kids at home.

She has a son in 10th grade, 6th grade and 3rd grade. Some of her kids are actually enjoying learning from home more than others, even doing better learning online. That’s the case for her sixth grader Jayden Sinzdak. He actually prefers being home.

“There’s not that many distractions,” he told 4 News Now.

RELATED: Spokane Schools beginning plans to bring 3-5 graders back to in-person learning

He does miss being at school for one reason only: Seeing his friends.

That’s what his 8-year-old brother will get to do in January.

Spokane Public Schools announced it is making plans right now for its third through fifth grade students to return to school and will announce that on January 6th at the school board meeting.

The Washington Department of Health released new framework this week, recommending students K-5 go back to class.

Sixth graders are in limbo, though. In Spokane, they’re still in elementary schools and they aren’t specifically referenced in the state guidelines.

SPS Superintendent Adam Swinyard says he will not stray from those guidelines, saying they’ve been working for the district in keeping transmission low in schools.

“We’ve been steadfast in that we’re going to follow what those recommendations are and not start the process of picking and choosing what should be followed,” he said.

He says the school district will continue to do what they can to keep students safe.

“Every day they send us their most prized possession and they expect for us to do everything we can to keep them safe, and that involves following the guidance of our public health officials,” he said.

So, in the Sinzdak home, that means Jayden’s younger brother will get to go back to school while he and his older brother keep learning from home.

“I’m feeling like for my brother, I don’t want him to get sick from it,” he said, hoping his brother doesn’t catch the virus when he goes back to school.

Christal said she hoped the number of people testing positive for the virus would go down, thinking it’d be better by Christmas, but it isn’t better. She feels nervous sending her kids back, wanting to know that they will be safe going back.

“The kids have a hard time sometimes, and I just assure them, let them know that there are other kids going through this, and we’ll get through this,” she said.

When 4 News Now asked Swinyard about how realistic it would be for all students to be back in class before the end of the school year, he said it’s too difficult to predict that in a pandemic.

RELATED: Gov Inslee says ‘it is time’ to bring K-5 students back into the classroom