With desks stacked to provide room for social distancing, 10th-grader Zendon Bugge attends a world history class during the first day of in-person school for Everett High students on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

With desks stacked to provide room for social distancing, 10th-grader Zendon Bugge attends a world history class during the first day of in-person school for Everett High students on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Students statewide returned to school buildings on Monday

Districts are now required to provide in-person class two days a week for kids through grade 12.

EVERETT — Students around Snohomish County returned to in-person school Monday after more than a year of learning through computer screens.

Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an order to get students back into classrooms statewide. It required districts to provide kids through grade 12 with an opportunity to return to schools at least two days a week. Districts could have started earlier than the Monday deadline. Students also still have the option to learn from home.

For months, public health experts have said that safety protocols have limited COVID-19 from spreading at schools, even when students or staff bring the virus to campus.

Between August and March, state data show 77 cases were linked to in-school transmission at Snohomish County schools. That number was the second-highest in the state, behind Spokane County.

Many schools have split students to attend in-person classes on different days of the week, to keep the number of people on campuses low. Districts must gradually get students to spend more time at school, according to the governor’s order.

More than 132,000 students are enrolled in public schools in Snohomish County, state records show. That number includes the Northshore School District, split between Snohomish and King counties.

Everett is one of the larger districts in Snohomish County, with about 20,290 students enrolled.

Kids began to arrive at Everett High School around 7:30 a.m. Monday. Students sat apart from one another in class, and at lunchtime seating was spaced with six feet between them.

First-year Principal Amanda Overly wore blue and yellow, the school colors, and a matching mask that read “Class of 2021.” Arrows on the floor directed traffic through the halls.

Herald writer Joseph Thompson contributed to this report.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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