Research studies demonstrate that the transmission of the virus remains incredibly low with young children
WOODLAND — Woodland Public Schools announced that elementary students in grades K-4 will return to in-person learning on a hybrid schedule beginning Tue., Jan. 5.
Superintendent Michael Green, in consultation with the Board of Directors, made the decision for the district’s youngest students to return following revisions to Department of Health guidance and revised, science-based metrics from current research on COVID-19 transmission rates among children presented by Governor Jay Inslee and his health team during a press conference on Wednesday, December 16.
Research studies demonstrate that the transmission of the virus remains incredibly low with young children. Accordingly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) along with health professionals throughout the scientific community now believe that in-person schooling for elementary students in groups of 15 or smaller can safely take place, even with higher community COVID-19 infection rates.
The safety protocols the district has followed will continue to remain in place with all students and staff wearing masks (Personal Protective Equipment or PPE), practicing proper physical distancing guidelines, and remaining in strict cohorts to limit any potential of spread.
These revised metrics also show a pathway for the return of students attending the district’s secondary schools – Woodland Middle School, Woodland High School, and TEAM High School – if Cowlitz County’s case loads decrease to more reasonable levels of less than 350 cases per 100,000 people. Unfortunately, the same studies used for younger students show that middle school and high school students transmit the disease at rates more similar to adults which means the spread must be further reduced before bringing older students back to in-person learning.
Accordingly, older students will not return to in-person learning until case counts drop. The district’s principals and school teams will continue to diligently plan for the return of older students with hopes to begin phasing grades 5-8 and 9-12 to hybrid learning as soon as the start of the second semester in 2021.
“Together, we can continue to conquer these challenging times and emerge as a stronger, united community,” said Green. “Remember, by wearing masks, consistently physically distancing, and limiting contact to only those in our households, we will be able to flatten the spread of the virus and get ourselves that much closer to full in-person learning.”
To keep up with the latest updates from Woodland Public Schools, visit the COVID HQ at www.woodlandschools.com/covid-hq.
Information provided by Woodland School District.