Anacortes School District students of all ages could be back for more in-person learning by early May, according to Superintendent Justin Irish.

Bringing kids back more days a week depends on logistics, staffing and contracts with all five district bargaining groups, Irish said.

“We are working hard,” he said.

Recently, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington school districts will require students in kindergarten through 12th grade to sit only 3 feet apart in classrooms, a change from the previous 6-foot requirement. Students will still need to be 6 feet apart during meals and in common areas.

Even with the lower requirements in the classrooms, it’s still taking time to figure out how to safely fit all students in the space, Irish said.

The district is also exploring ideas on how to hold lunchtimes, whether through adding lunchtimes, spreading students into the hallways or eating in classrooms and outside.

Once the district completes bargaining with all staff groups, the district will finalize its plan.

Then, Skagit County Public Health needs to check off each detail, according to the district.

Student schedules, start times and bus details are still in progress, he said.

Things like bus schedules also depend on staffing. The district has been extremely shorthanded with bus drivers. Fortunately, some qualified people have applied, and the district was able to add more drivers, Irish said. Positions are still sitting empty, though, including more bus drivers, custodians and paraeducators. Those are listed on the district’s website.

Right now, the district is planning an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021. As long as regulations stay as they are, that will happen, Irish said.

The district will follow state Department of Health guidelines when planning that ceremony.

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