Gov. Jay Inslee visited Elk Ridge Elementary School in the White River School District on Feb. 2, 2021 as part of his push to re-open schools safety for teachers, students, and their families. Photo courtesy the White River School District

Gov. Jay Inslee visited Elk Ridge Elementary School in the White River School District on Feb. 2, 2021 as part of his push to re-open schools safety for teachers, students, and their families. Photo courtesy the White River School District

White River students returning to classrooms full-time April 19

The Enumclaw School District has yet to make any similar announcement.

It’s been a long time coming, but students in the White River School District will head back to classrooms – on an all-day, every day basis – on Monday, April 19.

It’s been about a year since students in the Buckley-based district have experienced a “normal” schedule. They have responded to changes brought about by COVID-19, along with the rest of the world, and learned to live with a hybrid model. Those changes impacted a big chunk of the 2019-20 academic year and all of this year, so far.

Across the river in the Enumclaw School District, there has been no announcement about when students might return.

White River’s big news was shared Friday in an email sent to students’ parents and guardians.

In her letter, Superintendent Janel Keating Hambly first referenced the announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee, made a day earlier, that students can now be spaced at 3-foot intervals, rather than the 6-foot minimum that had been enforced.

“As you can imagine this will have a big impact on how many students can be in classrooms,” the superintendent wrote. “We are very excited to announce that we are making plans to return our K-12 students to full-day, full-time instruction starting on Monday, April 19th. This means students will come to school Monday-Friday and stay all day.”

She added that the shift will not come easily.

“Needless to say, there is a lot of planning that will take place over the next few weeks,” Keating Hambly’s email stated. “Many considerations need to be made to maintain a safe learning environment for our students and a safe working environment for our staff.” For example, Friday, April 16, has been deemed a day for teachers to get their classrooms ready for a full return of students.

The shift to full-time schooling could also be rejected by some parents, out of fears about coronavirus. Assistant Superintendent Scott Harrison said the district will make accommodations for those who want to stick with distance learning.

While sharing the news of a return to “normal,” Keating Hambly issued a reminder that the pandemic isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.

“I just want to reinforce the reminders that, as much as we all want to, now is not the time to let down our guard,” she wrote, adding the importance of wearing masks and highlighting the benefits of COVID testing.

“I know that participating in COVID testing is no one’s favorite thing to do,” she wrote, but added that testing is a key step in curtailing transmission rates.

Another factor that could play a role in spreading the virus is spring break, set for the week of April 5-9 in the White River School District.

“As we look ahead to spring break, warmer weather, and longer days,” the superintendent concluded, “I just urge you to continue to wear your mask, keep your ‘circle’ small, and stay out in the open wherever possible while visiting.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

Blotter bug
Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | March 31 – April 8

A broken traffic light, sleeping behind the wheel, and a loud basketball game.

Enumclaw Police Correctional Officer Tyler Ewalt holds open the door to a holding cell at the police department’s jail the afternoon of April 5. The cell, while not the one he rushed to when an inmate attempted suicide last month, is nonetheless where inmates in crisis are typically held. Photo by Alex Bruell
Enumclaw jail officer prevents inmate suicide

Officer Tyler Ewalt noticed the inmate-in-crisis over a video screen in March.

Male police officers standing behind Do Not Cross tape
70-year old domestic violence suspect shot by deputies in Buckley

The man was airlifted to a hospital and remains in stable but critical condition.

The Buckley Multipurpose Center, where the city council meets.
Buckley addresses Phase 2, search for new council member during Council meeting

Council approved union contract, awarded construction bid and more

The Black Diamond City Council and city staff during their April 8 workshop meeting. Screenshot
Black Diamond looks to continue contracting with Mountain View Fire and Rescue

Eventually, though, the council wants to annex into the fire district.

Enumclaw High School will start bringing students back full time May 3. Pictured here is a student receiving a temperature check in February, when the district started allowing students back into classrooms with mix of in-person and at-home learning models. Photo by Kevin Hanson
Enumclaw students make full-time return to classrooms May 3

About a quarter of all secondary education students remain at home.

Photo via Pexels
King County residents needed for first respiratory study using Apple watches

UW study to help find if devices can detect early warning signs of acute respiratory infections, such as COVID-19 and flu.

Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (
Johnson & Johnson vaccine halted in Washington over side effect

Following federal guidance, Washington health care providers are temporarily pausing Johnson &… Continue reading

Walt Olson climbs a ladder to remove the "Dave's Antiques" sign from Buckley Hall. The fire equipment was provided by Joe Kolisch, a former Enumclaw fire chief. This photo was provided by the Foothills Historical Society.
Buckley, Foothills Historical Society collaborate on $90,000 Buckley Hall upgrade

It will involve new flooring, electrical upgrades and carving out space for the Historical Society.

Most Read