Hermiston is one of the first schools to decide what they're doing this fall as schools prepare to go back to school. We've seen a lot of plans but nothing definitive for schools here in the Tri-Cities but Hermiston is the first to make a decision concerning reopening.

The Hermiston School District has opted to start its 2020-2021 school year with online distant learning. They'll utilize a comprehensive distance learning instructional model to start the school year.

They released a statement on the official school web page:

Following guidance from the Oregon Department of Education, Hermiston School District is planning for a comprehensive distance learning instructional model to start the school year.

In a letter included in the Ready Schools, Safe Learners Version 2.7.2 guidance, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Colt Gill and Director of the Oregon Health Authority Patrick Allen state, "Though not included in this version of Ready Schools, Safe Learners Guidance; in the coming weeks, we will release a set of guideposts, protocols, and public health indicators that will help determine the best instructional model for a given zip code or county.

Data about the readiness of local healthcare systems and the state of local COVID-19 rates will help inform school decisions about when to move to On-Site or Hybrid models of instruction."

Initial state guidance, released in June, offered three potential instructional models for the 2020-2021 school year:  on-site, hybrid, or comprehensive distance learning.

The same document said, “Districts, schools, and programs need to flexibly plan to use multiple models through the school year to meet evolving health conditions.”

“With heightened concern related to the COVID-19 virus and indoor gatherings, Hermiston School District will begin the year with a comprehensive distance learning model, with the intent of moving to a hybrid model when it is safe to return students to the classroom,” said Superintendent of School Dr. Tricia Mooney. “Our goal is to have our students in the classroom receiving face-to-face instruction.

As soon as that can safely be done, HSD will welcome students back to the schools. Though further state guidance is expected in the next couple of months, we want to provide families the opportunity to plan.”

HSD is committed to providing an engaging learning experience where all students receive instruction remotely. The board of education will discuss plan details at its July 27 special meeting. Further information and plan specifics will be released to families in the coming weeks.

At least weeks of speculation comes to a close in Hermiston as students. teachers and parents know what to expect for the upcoming school year. You can get more details and information on the Hermiston school reopenings here.

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