Benton Franklin Health District says schools could open as early as October 1

TRI-CITIES, WA - Dr. Amy Person sent a letter to school administrators in Benton and Franklin Counties Monday recommending that local schools and school districts begin planning for implementation of in-person hybrid learning as early as October 1 in Benton County and North Franklin County.

Pasco School District, and all other schools and school districts in Franklin County, should plan for implementation of in-person hybrid learning as early as October 15.

In her letter, Dr. Person noted that disease activity in both counties has been decreasing over the last two months and in-person attendance provides additional benefits to students that factored into her recommendation. Advancing to the hybrid learning model is not expected to pose a significantly greater risk to staff and students than their current activities. Medically fragile/high risk individuals are still advised to work or learn remotely.

BFHD’s recommendation is consistent with the intent of the current guidelines outlined by the State Department of Health and continues to align with state policy and guidance. BFHD will continue to monitor COVID-19 disease activity and trends closely for significant, unexpected variations and for any potential increases. SARS-CoV-2 is an emerging and novel virus, so it is important to recognize that recommendations may change as they must be rooted in best available evidence and in the status of disease activity in the future.

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