KMS student

Kalama School District is developing plans to return to full-time, in-person learning this fall. 

Earlier this month, the Washington state Department of Health (DOH) published guidance for the 2021-2022 school year, stating that “schools must provide full-time in-person education for all interested students with the following mandatory mitigation measures: face coverings, ventilation, cleaning and disinfecting, details of how schools will respond to cases of COVID-19, and meet the reporting requirements to public health.” 

In addition to the required mitigation measures above, district reopening plans must factor in physical distancing. Districts are not required to provide a fully-remote learning option in the fall, though Kalama School District is exploring ways to offer such a program to students who wish to learn in a remote setting.  

While the new DOH guidance comes on the heels of the authorization of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, it is important to note that vaccination will not be mandatory.

“There is nothing in this guidance that would prohibit in any meaningful way the ability to have full-time, on-campus learning,” explained Governor Jay Inslee during a May 13 press conference. “We know it’s possible that distancing requirements could be removed altogether in the fall, if we have a significant percent of students who are vaccinated.”

In Kalama, the return to full-time, in-person learning will be extra special for 6-12 graders, who will be able to begin the school year using the new secondary building, which features six classrooms, two science labs, a cafeteria and more. Currently, the project is approximately 80 percent complete.

Once finalized and approved by the school board, the district will submit its reopening plans to OSPI (Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction). 

“We are excited to move forward together in partnership with local health officials and our students, families and staff to ensure that Kalama’s return to full-time school is one that we can all be proud of,” said Eric Nerison, Kalama School District Superintendent.