Whether it's Riverside Christian in Yakima, or Liberty Christian in Richland, area private schools are bulging with students, and most of them have waiting lists.

Our sister station Newstalk 1280AM KIT in Yakima reported Thursday Riverside in Yakima has set new records for enrollment and the number of new students. The same could be said for here.

The enrollment coordinator at Liberty Christian in Richland says they are "wall to wall" as far as student capacity, of course within the state-mandated COVID guidelines. The school's maximum capacity K-12 is about 485, currently, they are at 465. Students have the six-foot bubble and other precautions and the school has been open full time five days a week since early last fall. The 465 is the maximum allowed under COVID guidelines.

Officials at Liberty say their waiting list "is a mile long," and they are still getting inquiries from parents all over the region.

Tri-Cities Prep confirmed "big jumps" in their numbers and steady calls from parents about enrolling. They are a high school only. They are located in Pasco. TCP officials say they've seen a 14 percent enrollment jump this year, and expect another 14 percent next fall. Prep is a little different in that it has 'just' the four grades.  While they do have some room in their junior and senior classes, their freshman class for next fall is full.

Kingspoint Christian School in Pasco, another smaller K-12 institution, also reports at least 30-40 new students this year, which for them is a huge jump. They too, have a waiting list and the number of calls for enrollment information is actually increasing as the pandemic continues.

Liberty and Tri-Cities Prep are "B" schools with the WIAA, offering a full slate of high school boys and girls sports. Liberty also has middle school teams.

Kingspoint Christian has a handful of limited middle school sports; for high school, their students compete for the high school team they would attend if they were in public school. So depending upon where they live, Kingspoint athletes would compete for Pasco or Chiawana.

Most of the officials we talked to said the longer the pandemic causes delays in public school returns, and the longer students remain in hybrid, the more interest they are getting.   Kingspoint and Liberty Christian both said they expect to be "full" in the 2020-2021 school year.

Officials at several other smaller private schools also say interest has skyrocketed, and enrollment numbers climbing fast.

For information about the schools, click on their highlights names in the story. Officials encourage interested parents to call and get specific information and details.

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