Walla Walla Public Schools prepares to bring some students back to class starting Oct. 26

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — Some Walla Walla students could be back in classrooms by the end of this month.

Last night, Walla Walla Public Schools board of directors instructed Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith to make preparations to transition to its Yellow Stage on Monday, Oct. 26. The Yellow Stage of reopening allows preschool to 2nd grade students to return for in-person instruction through a hybrid model.

During Tuesday’s discussion, school board members reviewed case counts released from the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health. The data shows that Walla Walla Public Schools has met the state’s 75 cases per 100,000 people threshold to safely pivot to in-person instruction.

In addition, they reviewed provisions outlined in the district’s Roadmap to Safely Reopening Schools plan required to support the transition, including low community hospitalization rates, decreasing test positivity rates and the district’s successful ability to control viral conditions in its schools.

The district has developed a public COVID dashboard identifying student/staff transmission instances by campus for another layer of safety and transparency. Walla Walla Public Schools has also developed a comprehensive COVID-19 Safety Plan following safety guidelines and protocols framed by CDC guidance, Washington State Department of Health recommendations and input from local health advisers.

Over the coming days the district will continue to monitor case trends to ensure levels support the Yellow Stage transition and continue to fine tune the logistics of reopening.