Hermiston to Begin 2020-21 School Year with Distance Learning


Hermiston School District students will take part in distance learning at the start of the 2020-21 school year, following guidance issued by the Oregon Education Department.

“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 on Thursday. “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.”

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

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 wrote, “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.”

School district officials say they are 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.