At least Pullman parents have alternatives.
As the Pullman School District plans for a return to limited in-person instruction Jan. 4, there is some concern that a recent return to more stringent statewide COVID-19 restrictions may foreshadow further delays at a time when families are leaving for other districts.
Pullman Superintendent Bob Maxwell said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement of a return to statewide restrictions on restaurants, bars, gyms and gatherings of more than five people does not apply to schools.
The school board on Nov. 4 approved a plan to shift from an online format to a hybrid form of instruction, starting with kindergarten and first grade, on Jan. 4, with higher grade levels added every couple of weeks.
In the meantime, Maxwell said the district has lost between 12 and 15 students to other nearby districts that do offer some face-to-face instruction in just the past week. While it is far from the first concern, he said each student lost means the district will not receive approximately $11,000 in state funds it would have received otherwise and it’s still too soon to be sure what kind of support will be available to help schools contending with such difficulties.
“I think we will recapture most of them — I’m not sure we’ll capture all, but I think most of them will probably return when we’re back in in-person learning, but I’m not sure,” Maxwell said. “Like anything, sometimes when people change they sometimes feel more comfortable in a new location.”
One such parent, Lacey Casqueiro, said in a school board meeting last week she recently pulled her students from Pullman schools and enrolled them in Jennings Elementary School in Colfax. She said she feels her children have already shown improvement with renewed access to face-to-face instruction.
“They have gone to three days of in-person school and I can say without a doubt that they’re healthier than they were last week,” she said.