Pasco School District holding virtual town halls this week to discuss plans for fall semester

PASCO, Wash. — Now that Washington state has released guidelines for reopening schools in the fall, school districts across Tri-Cities are having to quickly come up with plans.

This week, the Pasco School District is holding a series of town halls to share the latest ideas with parents and get their feedback.

“Especially with where our counties sit right now, it’s definitely looking like we’re gonna be starting the school year – at least for the few weeks, maybe first couple of months – with a non-traditional start to our school year,” said Shane Edinger, director of public affairs for the Pasco School District.

Right now, Pasco School District leaders are leaning toward a blended learning model – a combination of in-person and at-home learning.

One tool that may help them navigate a new model is iPAL – Pasco’s online learning program. It’s been around since 2013, facilitating a more flexible learning option for students and parents. Over 500 students in grades K-12 were enrolled in iPAL during the 2019-20 school year.

Now, the district is looking to expand the program, potentially making it available to more grades, adding more subjects and allowing more of a parent partnership option for families that want to homeschool.

Along with this week’s town halls, the PSD is currently accepting feedback specifically on iPAL in an online survey. The district is trying to have a preliminary plan for the fall semester ready to present to the school board on July 28.

“It’s going to be a collaboration, a partnership between the school district and our parents, students, teachers and other staff members,” said Edinger. “We’re all going to have to work on this together to make sure that our kids are getting the education that they need when we get back to school in the fall.”

A virtual town hall was held Monday night and there will be two more this week. A Spanish one will be held Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and another English one will be held Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To participate in the town halls, click here.