Richland School District votes to start fall semester virtually

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RICHLAND, Wash. – The Richland School Board voted Tuesday night to have fall classes start entirely online.

The majority of the board came to the decision based on information provided by the Benton-Franklin Health District.

In regards to what Richland Virtual School will be like, here is an explanation from their website:

“Virtual School is a structured academic program that ensures students are engaged in learning throughout the traditional school day. Teachers will provide instruction through recorded or live video broadcasts, lead class discussions and assign coursework to students through the Canvas learning management system. Teachers will also be available at regular times for one-on-one conversations with students and parents to ask questions and receive feedback. All learning materials will be available online with the option for families to download and print or request hard copies from the district. Supports for students needing special education or English language learner services will also be provided.”

According to RSD, the new program is based on the model for Spokane Public Schools’ Spokane Virtual Learning. More details about Richland Virtual School are available here. At this point there is no set date for when classes may return to in-person.

On Wednesday the school district will be holding an informational webinar to answer questions about Richland Virtual School. That will start at 6:30 p.m. on zoom. Here is a link to the meeting and some details they provided about it on their Facebook page:

Richland Virtual School, our new fully online teacher-directed program for students in kindergarten through Grade 12, now has its own website at Check it out to learn about Dr. Jesse Buchholz, our new Director of Online Learning, and more details about the program. There will also be an informational webinar at 6:30 p.m. on July 29 with a presentation from Dr. Buchholz and an opportunity to answer questions:

Tuesday night’s meeting was also the last night Dr. Rick Schulte will serve as the district’s superintendent. Here is a statement the district posted on their Facebook page:

Tonight is Dr. Rick Schulte’s last Richland School Board meeting as the leader of our schools. Our district has changed a lot over the past seven years while he was superintendent, with many new students, new schools and new programs. He was with us through Snowmageddon 2017, Snowpocalypse 2019 and the past months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all he has shown his commitment to ensuring our community’s schools are safe, supportive and inspire students to success. As he rides off on his bike into the sunset, join us in congratulating him on his retirement. #RSDawesome

The district’s new superintendent will be Shelley Redinger, who was the former Spokane School District superintendent.