Most Clark County school districts expanding in-person instruction this week

Most middle and high school students likely won’t return until late February, barring a major drop in COVID-19 case rates for the county

CLARK COUNTY — Starting this week, several Clark County school districts are bringing more students into classrooms, or expanding hours for kindergarten students. Others are planning similar moves in the near future.

Evergreen Public Schools is planning for the safe return of more students this week. Image courtesy Evergreen Public Schools
Evergreen Public Schools is planning for the safe return of more students this week. Image courtesy Evergreen Public Schools

Here is a brief breakdown of what each district is doing, along with links to find more information.

(Note, it was unclear Tuesday what impact, if any, the recent increase in COVID-19 case rates for Clark County may have on these plans.)

Evergreen Public Schools

Starting Jan. 19, kindergarten and first grade students will return to classrooms two days a week, with Group A on Mondays and Thursdays, while Group B takes Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesday remains for online learning.

The district plans to introduce second and third grade students starting Jan. 25, with fourth and fifth graders joining on Feb. 1, assuming safety protocols in place lead to no new outbreaks.

Evergreen has already begun bringing students from other grade levels back if they’re considered to be at risk of falling behind, with middle and high school grade level students being added to those groups this week. 

Middle and high school students would return in February or March, but only once COVID-19 case rates have remained below 350 per 100,000 for at least four consecutive weeks according to the district.

Vancouver Public School

Kindergarten in-person hours are being expanded, beginning Jan. 19, with grades one and two returning two days a week beginning Jan. 25. Currently, 3-5 grade students would return Feb. 1. 

The district hasn’t set a date for middle or high school students to return, but is eyeing late February or early March, depending on COVID-19 case rates and the status of getting educators vaccinated. 

A survey sent to parents last week will be used to help determine which students attend in-person learning, and how the district progresses. Students who choose to remain in full-remote may end up changing to another teacher who is also able to work remotely.

Camas School District

Starting Jan. 19, Camas School District will expand to include K-2 students in small groups, two days per week, from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. That represents nearly two additional hours for kindergarten students, who previously went home at 11:45 a.m.

Starting Feb. 1, Camas plans to bring third grade students back, with sixth-graders starting the same day. Fourth and fifth grade students would return on Feb. 16, with middle schoolers also starting to return then, with high school students coming back at the beginning of March.

Camas Public Schools is expanding in-person learning this week. Image courtesy Camas Public School District

Battle Ground Public Schools

Battle Ground Public Schools is bringing more students back in three phases, starting with K-4 students starting Feb. 1 (many kindergarten students have already been back in hybrid classes, along with some at-risk students).

Phase two would require case levels below 350 per 100,000, and test positivity rates below 10 percent. That would bring back fifth grade students, with middle schoolers to follow a week later.

High school students would not return until case rates drop below 200 per 100,000. Ninth grade students would return the week prior to high schoolers.

All hybrid in-person students will be in classrooms two days a week, with hours dependent on grade level and school.

Ridgefield School District

The Ridgefield School District has taken a more conservative approach to hybrid learning than most Clark County districts, with kindergarten students not returning until earlier this month. 

First grade students joined in-person learning cohorts on Jan. 19, with second grade starting Jan. 25 and third grad on Feb. 1.

Currently, fourth and fifth graders would return on Feb. 8, depending on whether data shows safety measures are working as intended at the lower grade levels. 

The district is planning limited in-person support for higher grade level students using a phased-in approach starting Jan. 19 for 7-8 and 12th grade students, with sixth and ninth graders returning Feb. 1, 10th graders on Feb. 8, and 11th graders on Feb. 16.

Washougal School District

K-3 students in Washougal School District will have the choice of returning Jan. 19, with small groups of fourth and fifth graders returning this week, and all fourth and fifth graders having the option for hybrid learning starting Jan. 25.

The district currently has no plans for middle and high school grade levels returning until 14 days of COVID-19 case levels below 350 per 100,000 for middle school, and 200 per 100,000 residents for high school grade levels.

La Center School District

First and Second Grade levels will return to classrooms in small groups starting Jan. 19, with the second group coming back on Jan 21. Third graders will return to classrooms Jan. 25 and 26. 

Plans for later grade levels are still being finalized.

Hockinson School District

First through third grade students in the Hockinson School District can return to classrooms this week. Unlike other districts, in-person classes will be done four days per week, with students splitting between early or late classes for half of the day.

The district currently plans to expand this program to fourth and fifth grade students beginning Feb. 1, and other grade levels to follow, though plans are still being developed.

Unlike many districts, Hockinson School District will have students in classrooms four days a week. Image courtesy Hockinson School District