Back to School Safely

NV5 supported five different Eastern Washington School Districts to help them prepare for restarting in-person learning. In March 2020, essentially all schools in Washington State (and throughout the United States) went to remote learning. In November 2020, NV5 was contacted to review Eastern Washington School District preparations. The school districts adopted a hybrid model starting in November and December. NV5 supported these school districts with full re-opening, starting in April 2021. NV5 partnered with school districts to address issues and challenges, including:

  • Union concerns over protection of staff
  • Parental concerns over protection of students
  • Guidance from agencies that were sometimes vague or contradictory
  • Transportation
  • Social distancing
  • Mask use
  • Lunch and other meals
  • Recess
  • Cohorts and contact tracing
  • Changing recommendations

The school districts were proactive in developing memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the union, communicating with parents and staff, developing protocols which included cleaning, developing re-opening plans and re-arranging classrooms.

NV5 conducted a review of the schools which included walkthroughs of every elementary, middle and high school one or two times. All walkthroughs were conducted by the building principal. District personnel attended including superintendents, custodial managers, facility managers, safety managers and union and teacher’s representatives. NV5 provided third party review of school district implementation, reviewed written protocols for compliance with guidelines, provided reports and recommendations and briefed board members. NV5’s scope included:

  • Health and sick rooms
  • Offices
  • Teacher lounges and work areas
  • Student arrival and departure
  • Restrooms
  • Classroom desk spacing
  • Student to teacher spacing
  • Bus protocols
  • Recess
  • Lunch for both teachers and students
  • Libraries, including check in/out of books
  • Quarantine recommendations
  • Special needs classrooms (teachers, counselors, reading and speech)

The efforts of the school districts and building staff for preparing for the return of students was noteworthy. Many innovative ideas were explored and implemented, including several approaches developed by the teachers.

Client Testimonial

“Our work with NV5 was instrumental in helping Kennewick School District move forward with reopening schools for in-person learning. NV5 assessed our readiness to have staff and students on campus for in-person learning and assessed our implementation of all of the necessary safety protocols and procedures. Their help and expertise provided us the assurance that our schools can safely operate and that we are providing safe working and learning environments for our staff and students.”

Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent
Kennewick (WA) School District


Eastern Washington


Five different Eastern Washington School Districts, including Kennewick, Pasco and Richland