Welcoming pre-schoolers to in-person learning; update for kindergarten, older students
Kindergarten Hybrid Leaning Classroom

Tacoma Public Schools has updated its plans to bring more students back to school for in-person instruction.

To help you prepare, here is our latest timeline:

  • Preschool students will attend school in groups of up to 15 students. Families should have received the schedule from their student’s teacher for all programs. 
    • Students in Head Start and ECEAP preschool will attend two days per week in cohorts.
    • Students in Peer Inclusion, special education, DHH and LSL will attend preschool four days a week.
  • Also on Jan. 25, students in secondary self-contained classrooms will increase their in-person learning days to four days a week, with Wednesdays slated for district-wide independent learning days.
  • Beginning, Monday, Feb. 8, first grade students—and older students in split or multiage classrooms with first graders, such as Montessori—will return to school two days per week. Students will return Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday—in groups of up to 15 students. Many of our first graders had limited in-school experience last school year, and we want to give them time to get acclimated before bringing in second graders. Principals at each school will notify families of their student’s cohort by Sunday, Jan. 31. 

Students will remain in cohorts two days a week until the COVID-19 case numbers in Pierce County allow us to move into the next phase.

First and second graders can leave their computers at home for the first two weeks of in-person learning while they focus on building relationships with teachers and classmates. 

  • Beginning, Tuesday, Feb. 16, second grade students will return to school two days per week—Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday—in groups of up to 15 students. Principals at each school will notify families of their student’s cohort by Sunday, Feb. 7.

Students will remain in cohorts two days a week until the COVID-19 case numbers in Pierce County allow us to move into the next phase.

  • Students in grades 3-12 would begin to come back in a hybrid model no sooner than March 1. The District will be developing a staggered start-date approach for these grade levels to ensure students are able to transition in a safe and healthy manner.  More details will be announced in the next few weeks. 

Our kindergarten students started in-person instruction safely two days per week in groups up to 15 students on Jan. 19. We had hoped to expand kindergarten to four days per week soon, but COVID-19 cases in Pierce County remain high, so kindergarten students will remain in their cohorts for now.

The state’s most recent guidance limits student groups to a maximum of 15 students per classroom if the COVID-19 case count in the community exceeds 350 cases per 100,000 residents. In Pierce County, as of Jan. 22, the case count per 100,000 stands at 408, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

TPS continues to work toward planning a safe, staggered approach to returning students to campus. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 case counts, collaborate with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, provide updates on future dates when we can expand the number of school days for K-2 students and welcome more students back to campus.   

Take daily COVID-19 health survey on the Family App
Every day a student is in a school building, a parent or guardian must complete a short COVID-19 health survey form acknowledging their child has no COVID-19 symptoms and hasn’t been exposed to anyone with COVID-19. This is a state requirement of all school districts across the state. You can complete the survey at https://family.tpsapps.org/register. Paper versions of the COVID-19 survey forms in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer, Russian and Ukrainian will be available at schools.

Students in middle and high school can complete their own COVID-19 health survey.

Watch this video to learn how to register and complete the daily COVID-19 health survey. 


Media Contact

Dan Voelpel, Executive Director of Communications | 253-571-1015 | dvoelpe@tacoma.k12.wa.us

About Tacoma Schools

Tacoma Public Schools is the only district designated an Innovation Zone by Washington State. A leader in implementing innovative schools and programs to meet the diverse needs of every student, every day, TPS serves approximately 30,000 students from preschool to grade 12 and at nearly 5000 employees is one of the largest employers in Tacoma. Learn more...


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