Tri-City schools could start reopening within a couple weeks, health district says

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TRI-CITIES, Wash. — The Benton-Franklin Health District says schools could start reopening for in-person learning as early as Oct. 1.

Health Officer, Dr. Amy Person, sent a letter to school administrators in Benton and Franklin Counties on Monday recommending that local schools and school districts in Benton County and North Franklin County begin planning for implementation of in-person hybrid learning by Oct. 1.

The 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 Oct. 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 or high-risk individuals are still advised to work or learn remotely.

The health district’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.

The health district will continue to monitor COVID-19 disease activity and trends closely for significant, unexpected variations and for any potential increases.