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The Sherwood School District plans for elementary students to attend every day schools are open.

PMG PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - Archer Glen Elementary School teacher Katy Simpson poses with students (from left to right) Bel Sleeman, Kellen McNutt, Easton Stetner and Elsa Gilbertson in early 2020, before schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.The Sherwood School Board voted unanimously Wednesday, Feb. 10, to begin opening schools to in-person learning, beginning with kindergarten and first-grade students on March 8.

The decision was made after board members were informed that the COVID-19 case count in Washington County has been improving in recent days.

Jim Rose, the Sherwood School District's chief operations officer, told board members, "We have continued to trend down over the last four weeks. This week, we were at 165.6 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate of 4.3 percent."

As a result of these improving metrics, the board decided on March 8 as the start date for kindergarten and first grade.

Under the proposal, on March 8 and March 9, half of the students would attend each day so they can learn safety protocols. All K-1 students would attend daily starting March 10.

For second through fifth grade, in-person learning will take place March 15. Following the same transition plan as grades K-1, the plan is for half of the students to attend each day March 15 and March 16, with everyday attendance starting March 17.

The Sherwood School Board was told school openings are closely related to the timeline of staff vaccinations. In addition to those already working on-site, all staff will be brought back to work once they've had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated following federal health guidance, according to district officials.

Board member Sue Hekker was pleased that schools will soon reopen.

"I can't wait until next week, when we're talking about everybody," Hekker said. "It's going to be incredible to have everybody back together."

The Sherwood School Board did not make a decision on when grades 6 through 12 will return. That topic is expected to be discussed at a work session next week.


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