Tacoma Public Schools to bring back some students for in-person instruction in mid-January

Photo of Arlington Elementary School. (Tacoma Public Schools)

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma Public Schools announced it will begin bringing students back to the classroom in phases beginning Jan. 19.

Kindergartners will be the first students to return for in-person learning two days a week, either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday, according to the district’s website. Students will be in groups of up to 15.

On Jan. 25, preschool students will begin in-person learning two days a week in groups of up to 15.

The district also stated:

Beginning Feb. 1, kindergarten students would shift to four school days per week—but only if the coronavirus case count in Pierce County drops below 350 cases per 100,000 residents for 14 days. Otherwise, they will continue to come to school two days per week.

Beginning Monday, Feb. 8, first- and second graders return to school two days per week—Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday—in groups of up to 15. Kindergarten and preschool will continue as described above.

The district also stated that it will announce plans to bring back first-and second graders four days a week, expand preschool programming and phase in grades three through five.

Special education students of all ages already returned for in-person learning in groups of five or less. In the new year, they will attend in groups of up to 15, schools officials said.

For middle- and high school students to return for in-person learning, the coronavirus case count in Pierce County needs to drop below 350 cases per 100,000, in compliance with new state guidelines.

The announcement comes after the state recently released new guidelines in hopes of prompting districts to bring back more students.

On Thursday, Seattle Public Schools approved a plan that will return some students to in-person learning in the new year.