New recommendation for Tri-Cities schools: Grades 6-12 should stay home

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Dr. Amy Person from the Benton-Franklin Health District provided Tri-Cities schools with new information on COVID-19, recommending schools pause their phased return for middle and high school students.

The new information was provided to school administrators late Wednesday afternoon.

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Dr. Person had previously recommended in October that schools throughout the Tri-Cities were ready for hybrid learning.

“I must amend my recommendation to Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick school districts to pause the phased return for middle and high school students,” said Dr. Person.

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Although Dr. Person said she believes school is not a dangerous place, she noted the recent rise in cases in the community as a concern.

“Compared to elementary schools, middle and high school environments are higher risk environments for transmission,” Dr. Person said.

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Dr. Person’s letter came out shortly before the Kennewick School District Board meeting; the board decided to reevaluate in January its previous decision to start hybrid learning in February for middle and high schools.

The Richland School Board will discuss the new guidance at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24, according to a district Facebook post.

Pasco School District’s Board of Directors will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 4 p.m. to act on the new recommendations. Livestream details are listed here.

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You can read Dr. Person’s full statement here.


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