Richland School District plans to open in-person learning mid October for elementary students

TRI-CITIES, WA- The Richland School District is the latest district in the Tri-Cities their return to hybrid, in-person learning starting Oct. 26. 

The Richland School Board approved the plan Tuesday night which set target dates for elementary students to return to limited in-person learning. No dates have been set yet for middle and high schoolers.

Target dates for elementary students to return to in-person learning:

  • DD Preschool and Kindergarten: Monday, Oct. 26
  • ECEAP Preschool and Grades 1-2: Monday, Nov. 2
  • Grades 3-5: Monday, Nov. 9 

Adopted learning schedules:

  • Elementary: A.M./P.M. model (half of the students attend in the morning and a half in the afternoon)
  • Middle & high school: A/B model (students divided into two groups and attend on alternate days for two days of in-person learning per week. Friday will be a remote learning day for all students and planning day for staff)
  • Delta High/Tri-Tech Skills Center: bus transportation will be available for students in those programs when the Pasco and Kennewick school districts respectively resume in-person learning

The Kennewick School District is planning on returning to hybrid, in-person learning for elementary students on Monday, Oct. 19. The first day of hybrid learning for middle and high school students is Monday, Nov. 2. 

Kennewick and Richland School Districts have discussed COVID-19 updates and protocols for students and staff returning to campus. 

The Richland School District has acquired enough plastic face shields for every staff member and they will be required to wear them along with a mask. 

An official for the district said they will implement various public health practices, procedures, and processes as part of bringing students back into schools for in-person learning.

These include:

  • Daily health attestations/symptom check for all students and staff
  • Face coverings
  • Physical distancing
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing
  • Emphasis on handwashing and good hygiene practices
  • Prohibiting visitors to schools except as necessary and requiring them to complete health attestations and sign in.

Richland district officials say there have been six reported cases of COVID-19 among staff members since the school year began. None of those staff members have been on school grounds.

But many have asked what happens once more students and staff return? 

According to RSD, if a student or staff member is undergoing testing for COVID-19, has tested positive for COVID-10 or their daily health attestation responses indicate they have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case or are showing symptoms, they must contact their school or supervisor and take the following precautions:

  • Close contact with a positive case, student/staff member has no symptoms: Student/staff member will quarantine 14 days after last contact with a positive case. 
  • Close contact with a positive case, student/staff member is symptomatic: Student/staff member will quarantine for 10 days after symptoms started and at least 24 hours fever free (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and other symptoms have improved

According to protocols, students required to quarantine in response to presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 exposure or symptoms will have the opportunity to access online learning resources and support while unable to attend school.

Staff members required to quarantine in response to presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 exposure or symptoms will have the opportunity to work remotely if appropriate to their role and responsibilities. Substitutes will be assigned as necessary.

In case of an outbreak, the district will work with BFHD to determine if the transmission is occurring in the school.

The following will be considered to determine the need to close a classroom or school and switch to remote learning for 14 days:

  • There is a rapid increase in cases
  • A prolonged chain of transmission (two or more outbreak generations) is believed to occur in the school.
  • School cannot function due to insufficient teaching or support staff.

The full list of Richland School Districts protocols is listed here

The full list of Kennewick School Districts protocols is listed here

The Pasco School Board is still planning out when their return to hybrid in-person learning will be. Their next board meeting will be on Oct. 22. 

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