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Tacoma kindergartners, special ed students return to classrooms Monday

Tacoma Public Schools kindergartners and special education students will return to the classroom Monday. Desks will be kept 6 feet apart.

TACOMA, Wash. — Students will return to the campuses of Tacoma Public Schools on Monday morning.

Approximately 1,700 kindergarteners and 700 special education students will resume in-person instruction with precautions based on recommendations by the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department.

”I am getting ready for you to come back to class on Monday. I couldn’t be more excited,” Point Defiance Elementary kindergarten teacher Kelly King told her students during their Wednesday morning online class.

King, who has taught in Tacoma schools for 35 years, said she has enjoyed teaching online but said her students need to be back in the classroom.

”Everyday will be a challenge,” said King. “But a good challenge. We’re all going to be better because of this.”

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Instead of group tables, her 17 students will be seated at individual desks all spaced 6 feet apart.

Each student will have hand sanitizer on their desks, and the students and teacher will need to wear a mask, except when they’re eating breakfast or lunch.

If a student or teacher test positive for COVID-19 the entire class will go back to online instruction.

A Tacoma Public Schools spokesperson said students in other grades will likely return to the classroom later this fall or school year, but the district wanted to resume in-person instruction slowly.

Parents may not have a choice but to send their students back. In August, the district had families commit to either online learning in the fall or participating in online courses until their students' classes resumed in-person education.

The spokesperson said the district currently has 4,000 students enrolled in the online-only system, and there's a waiting list.

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