Pullman K-1 students return to school via hybrid model

Students follow COVID-19 protocols such as wellness screening, social distancing

ADALINE GRACE, Evergreen reporter

School board members discussed the COVID-19 protocols for reopening schools, including a wellness screener students must complete, during a Pullman Public Schools meeting Wednesday. 

On Jan. 4, elementary schools began their first phase of welcoming students back in person. This phase consists of kindergarten and first-grade students learning via a hybrid model, which includes both in-person and distance learning.

Evan Hecker, principal of Kamiak Elementary School, said teachers were anxious about the children’s transitions into a new way of learning. However, students have been taking the initiative to follow protocols.

“I see a bunch of kids who understand how to move with care,” he said. “They’re aware of others around them.”

Each student must complete a wellness screener before they enter the classroom, said Pam Brantner, interim principal of Sunnyside Elementary School. Teachers placed star-shaped stickers to keep students 6 feet apart when parents pick them up.

“It was magical to see because [students] felt comfortable with everyone in our building,” Brantner said.

At Franklin Elementary School, staff members are stationed at multiple locations to check if students completed the wellness screener. Students who have not been screened wait in the gym, said principal Stephanie Bray. 

There are hula hoops on the gym’s floor to help with social distancing, she said.

Technology Services Report

Information Systems Director Garren Shannon said the school district has currently deployed around 1,800 Chromebooks. The Chromebooks will have a secure browser to help with online testing. About 743 more Chromebooks will be distributed soon.

Shannon recommended the use of Microsoft Translator, a program that is meant to make online classes easier for those whose first language is not English. It directly translates live lectures into any language supported by Microsoft.

The next Pullman Public Schools board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27. The meeting will be live-streamed on YouTube.