Reopening Rainier Schools

Return to In-Person Updates

10/26/20 Update

Dear Staff, Students, Parents and Rainier Community,

Due to an increase in Covid-19 cases in Thurston County over the past couple of weeks, the Thurston Health Department has asked the Rainier School District not to to expand our face-to-face learning opportunities at this time. While we were hoping to begin bringing back additional grade levels, unfortunately our plans have to be placed on pause until the numbers lower.

I am working closely with the Thurston County Health Department and will be getting further guidance in the next few days. At this time, we will keep Kindergarten through second grade on the hybrid model while the remaining grade levels will continue their education remotely. I will make sure to keep everyone updated as I learn more.

I thank you for your patience and flexibility.

Superintendent Bahr

This page is to inform you of the latest guidance for in-person instruction released by Dr. Abdelmalek, Health Officer for Thurston County.

Rainier School District elementary students may start to return to school in-person at the beginning of October, if Thurston County continues to meet COVID-19 targets set by the Thurston County Health Department and state Department of Health.

This next phase is called the hybrid model, in which students learn two days in their school and three days at home with Mondays as a remote day of learning that will continue from home using the current Distance Learning Schedule.

Please be aware we are requiring all students to wear a face covering, all day. The face covering requirement is a state mandate that we will adhere to. Our district will be following all safety and health guidelines from the Department of Health.

The timeline for the hybrid model is provided below, however, may change based on COVID-19 activity level and the Decision Tree for Provision of In-Person Learning from the Department of Health.


Kindergarten 8:25 – 2:00

October 6th: A Group attends all day in-person

October 7th: B Group attends all day in-person

1st & 2nd Grade 8:25 – 2:00

October 13th: A Group attends all day in-person

October 14th: B Group attends all day in-person

3rd – 5th Grade 8:25 – 2:00

TBA: A Group attends all day in-person

TBA: B Group attends all day in-person

6th & 9th Grade 8:25 – 2:00

TBA: A Group attends all day in-person

TBA: B Group attends all day in-person

7-8th & 10-12th Grades 8:25 – 2:00

TBA: A Group attends all day in-person

TBA: B Group attends all day in-person


Why will students come back to school in cohorts two days a week?

Health and safety requirements mandate schools to maintain six feet of social distancing in classrooms. While the physical size of classrooms varies from school to school, classrooms aren’t large enough to accommodate all students six feet apart. Each teacher in grades K-5 will see half of their students in person every other day

What days do the two different groups attend in-person?

Please know we are grouping siblings together and working through coordinating siblings who will be returning in the secondary level.

  • Typically A Groups attend Tuesday and Thursdays, while B Groups attend Wednesday and Fridays.
  • Parents should refer to the calendar for the month of October specifying exact A and B dates.

When will parents learn if their child has been placed in A or B group?

Parents will be informed of their child’s grouping by 3:00pm on Friday, September 25th from their student’s teacher via email.

School Schedule

As we shift to hybrid, students will be on campus from 8:25am-2:00pm. It is important for parents to adhere to having their child in building no sooner than 8:00am.

We will strictly enforce students not leaving their parent vehicle or bus until there is a visual signal from school personnel at 8:00am.

What does my child do on the non-in person days?

Teachers will send home plans for the days students are not in class. These plans will include supplemental materials to extend the learning that took place in the classroom.

Mondays will be an all remote day, staff and students will follow the current remote schedule on Mondays.

Student Chromebook

Kindergarten - Fifth grade students maybe expected to transport their Chromebook and charger to school on in-person instruction days. Parents may want to purchase a protective case or sleeve and stylus for their child's Chromebook.

How does this impact Preschool?

Preschool resumes to in-person instruction, Tuesday, October 13th.

Preschool students will remain in their originally assigned Morning and Afternoon program. Preschool hours are 8:05 -11:05 Morning Group and 11:45 – 2:45 Afternoon Group. Please contact our Elementary for enrollment information.

How does this impact Special Education students?

K-12th Grade Self Contained students begin to attend four days a week: T, W, Th, F. Your student's Special Education teacher will inform you of specifics.

What if families don’t want their children to return to school in person?

Families, who don’t want to send children to school in person, please contact your school principal. If your child attends Rainier Elementary School and you selected Option 2 in the “Learning Options” survey in August, Your child will stay remote until January 22, 2021.

*Rainier Elementary Cougar Academy*

In this option, students will be 100% remote learners. Once you opt into this model, you are making a commitment for the entire first semester, from September 2020 to January 22, 2021. This model will look similar to Option 1, except students will not return for face-to-face instruction if and when deemed safe to return back to the building. This option is really for those students who at no time want to rejoin our in-person instruction, or have such extreme health concerns which any level of in-person instruction would place them or their family members at too great of a risk.

Students will be assigned a teacher who will design and deliver instruction and assess student learning. Grades will be earned and daily attendance will also be taken. The quality of instruction, as well as the expectation for student participation and achievement will not reflect last spring’s distance learning model. Instruction in this model may include outside virtual lessons along with recorded and shared lessons which will be available for students and parents to access. To be as transparent as possible, this model is 100% online and the commitment is for a semester at a time.

Food Service

Through December 31st, all students will be offered a free breakfast and a free lunch every school day. When students are released from the bus or vehicle at 8:00am students may pick up their breakfast from the building's designated area.

*Please stay tuned for updates to our Grab & Go food pick up program*

When will bus routes and times be available?

A timeline for bus routes will be released no later than October 2nd. Please complete the Busing Questionnaire no later than September 30th. All students are scheduled for parent transportation unless this form is received.

School Supplies

Please refer to the original supply list on our district website. If you have specific supply questions, please connect with your child's teacher.

When can we anticipate 6th-12th grade returning to in-person instruction?

October 20th 6th and 9th grade will return to in-person learning. Students in grades 7,8,10,11,12 will return to in-person learning two days a week starting on October 22nd , All students 6-12 grade will be in the same hybrid model as K-5: either Tuesday and Thursday or Wednesday and Friday in-person. They’d spend the other three days learning from home.

Why can kindergarten through fifth grade students return two days a week?

In her guidance to Thurston County school superintendents on September 23rd, Dr. Abdelmalek, Health Officer for Thurston County, listed reasons for a phased-in return to in-person learning starting with the youngest children. Her reasons included:

  • Youngest learners are at a critical stage in their development.
  • Youngest learners struggle the most with distance learning.
  • Younger students appear to have milder cases and lower transmission rates of COVID-19.

Rainier School District relies on guidance from the Thurston County Health Department and Washington State Department of Health to determine when schools can return to face-to-face learning. Thurston County Health Department uses four factors to consider going to in-person instruction:

  • The 14-day case rate per 100,000
  • The trend in percent of COVID-19 tests that are positive
  • The trend in new cases of COVID-19 by day
  • The trend in hospitalizations because of COVID-19

We’ll provide you updates on moving to the hybrid model. If COVID case numbers change, it will impact our decision to open. We will continue to follow the protocols for monitoring community virus outbreaks.