Chelan schools hoping to reopen K-2 in October

by Richard Uhlhorn

In a conversation with Chelan School’s Superintendent Barry DePaoli on Sunday, October 3, he said that he and seven other superintendents wrote a letter to Dr. Malcolm Butler of the Chelan-Douglas Health District requesting a waiver to allow Kindergarten through second grade to attend school.

“He approved our request with some anxiety,” said DePaoli. Dr. Butler is worried about transmission of the Coronavirus. Dr. Butler expects positive transmissions to be down to 75/100,000 by October 12. “We won’t open on October 12,” said DePaoli. “Our concern is that kindergarten children have never been in a school setting.” DePaoli said they would bring the kindergarten kids in for one full week before allowing other grades to come back. “It is an extremely fluid situation.”

Both Pateros and Brewster along with Moses Lake have opened up because of low positive transmission rates. DePaoli says that schools are probably one of the most safe places to be. However, apparently Moses Lake had a big celebration where no masks were worn and 55 people ended up positive. “We’ve had one teacher test positive and that person is in quarantine. We are doing contract tracing.”

Currently the School District has 50 students attending in building at both MOE and the High School/Middle School. “Some will be at least a week ahead of us, but we have to be cautious,” stated DePaoli.

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Representatives from the Holiday Hills Development group addressed the School Board at its Tuesday evening meeting on September 29 requesting that the District donate a 60 foot right-of-way to the City of Chelan for their proposed secondary access for their major development.

DePaoli said that while they made some good points of buses coming in on the backside of the school property, there are still 12 buses which need to access Hwy. 97. “We still have to get our buses off the school property along with teachers and student drivers,” said DePaoli.

The developer is proposing to connect Raymond Street to Waterslide Drive, which they say adds additional access to the school facilities.

“There is no decision off the bat for their proposal,” said DePaoli.

In a quick call to Planning Director Craig Gildroy at the City of Chelan, Gildroy said, “Their application has expired… there is no active application at this time.”

He added that the City’s code requires a secondary access to the development but that there is a dispute over the easement at this time. “They are trying to solve those issues.”

Gildroy also said that a traffic study will be required and remarked that the City will be conducting its own traffic study. “The Farnham exit does get blocked,” said Gildroy. “I’m not sure when the traffic study will take place.

According to the Capital Improvements (CIP) document, a S. Chelan Access Study will be conducted in 2022. The Farnham/97A Intersection Study is funded, but not included in this year’s 2020 projects. The Farnham/97A intersection is currently the only egress out of South Chelan except for the Old Gorge Road.

The City will be holding a workshop on Tuesday, October 6, beginning at  4 p.m. to discuss Capital Improvement Projects budgeting after it decides on the new Councilman.

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