Return To School Planning Updates
September 10, 2021
The district is adjusting its COVID-19 notification protocols and resources to ensure families and staff continue to be notified of COVID-19 activity in schools and district facilities, share important COVID-19-related updates and reduce the possibility of school notifications being missed.
Beginning Monday, Sept. 13, a COVID-19 Update email notification will be sent from the district to the parents/guardians and staff of each school with one or more new positive on-site cases by 4:30 p.m. daily. This message will:
- link to the COVID-19 Activity Dashboard updated each school day
- include any student activity or program cancelations resulting from COVID-19 conditions
- include updates from the state or local officials on COVID-19 safety measures and requirements
- link to resources for COVID-19 testing, vaccination and more.
Individual schools will continue to send families notifications if their child is determined to be a close contact to a positive case and if their teacher must quarantine as a result of contracting COVID-19 or being a close contact.
Students, families, staff and community members also are encouraged to visit the district’s Return To School Planning webpage to see information about:
- COVID-19 safety requirements, protocols and procedures in schools
- details on COVID-19 symptoms, definitions and quarantining decision-making
- COVID-19 testing and vaccination resources and opportunities
- the district’s Our Road To Recovery document and more.
August 25, 2021
Schools will still have COVID-19 precautions in place this school year but there will be some modifications from the past. That has led to some questions from students, families, staff and community members about what school will be like this school year. District and school leaders have compiled the most frequently-asked questions so they can provide answers ahead of the first day of school.
VIEW THE FAQ
July 29, 2021
To the RSD community,
The Richland School Board's goal is to open schools normally for the 2021-22 school year unless specifically prohibited by the state. Recently, the Washington Department of Health (DOH) updated its requirements for all public and private K-12 schools regarding COVID-19.
Governor Jay Inslee has announced that these updated requirements are law and that all public and private K-12 schools in the state must comply with them. Further, state Superintendent Chris Reykdal has stated that "boards or districts that intentionally disobey, dismiss, or shun an explicit law, including a Governor’s executive order, which has the power of law, will see an immediate halt to their basic education apportionment, and their federal funds that come through OSPI."
Many prior requirements have been relaxed, such as those for quarantining and physical distancing, or completely removed, such as the need for daily or weekly health attestations.
State public health officials will require individuals in K-12 schools or on school buses to continue to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings will not be required during outdoor activities at schools, such as recess, physical education, athletic practices and competitions and marching band performances.
These requirements are subject to change based on COVID-19 conditions. Those updates will be shared with the community as soon as possible.
Stay tuned for more information about the start of school and further updates to our COVID-19 protocols and procedures.
- April - June 2021 Updates
- Jan. - March 2021 Updates
- Oct. - Dec. 2020 Updates
- June - Sept. 2020 Updates
May 28, 2021
As our community concludes a school year full of changes and transitions made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic, another update from state health officials is contributing to one final change—this time benefitting our graduates and their families.
The state has increased the maximum capacities for high school graduation ceremonies. As a result, each Hanford and Richland high graduate will be able to have more of their family and friends attend their graduation in-person at Fran Rish Stadium. Graduates who do not use their full allotment of tickets will be free to give them to other graduates to use.
River’s Edge High School and Three Rivers HomeLink will continue to have their graduation ceremonies at Three Rivers Convention Center with their graduates being able to provide tickets to family and friends to maximize the state’s capacity limits for indoor events.
State and local health officials have also affirmed that we may loosen COVID-19 precautions for attendees who provide verification of COVID-19 vaccination ahead of the graduation ceremonies at Fran Rish. Vaccinated individuals will be free to sit with other vaccinated individuals without wearing a mask and without physical distancing. Unvaccinated individuals will need to wear a face mask and maintain physical distancing between families. Hanford and Richland high administrators will share details with seniors and their families about how vaccinated family and friends can provide advance verification of their status in the coming days.
For those in our community who are still not ready to participate in large public gatherings, our high schools will be providing either live broadcasts or recordings on our Graduation 2021 page so they can see our graduates mark their accomplishment.
We are excited for our community to join with us in safely celebrating the Class of 2021 and sending its members off to their futures.
May 12, 2021
As the district looks forward to the 2021-22 school year and the possibility of moving schools closer to full-time operations, we are sharing the draft plan about how schools will serve students and help them recover from the impacts on their education created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Road To Recovery Plan lays out approaches to programming, staffing and other considerations aimed at addressing learning loss; ensuring the district’s most vulnerable learners receive the support and resources they need and regularly assessing the effectiveness of all these efforts. This document also aims to meet the requirement from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for districts to have an Academic & Student Well-being Recovery Plan to access state and federal funds targeted for these efforts.
The community is invited to review the draft plan and provide feedback ahead of the Richland School Board’s final consideration for approval at its regular meeting on May 25. The Board will consider written and verbal feedback at a workshop at 4 p.m. on May 18 and at the regular meeting on May 25. In-person attendance at these meetings will be limited and require registration due to COVID-19 safety requirements. Both meetings will also be broadcast via Zoom with the ability for people to make verbal comment remotely.
Community members may also send feedback to the Board at BoardFeedback@rsd.edu.
May 3, 2021
To our RSD families,
Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) today issued updated guidance regarding quarantine requirements for students and staff determined to be close contacts to a positive COVID-19 case.
The new guidance indicates because schools have not contributed to transmission of COVID-19 in the community, the following shortened quarantine timelines are now available for close contacts who do not show symptoms.
- After day 10 without testing
- After day 7 with a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)
The Richland School Board previously directed district staff to review options for students who are close contacts but do not show symptoms and test negative for COVID-19 to return to in-person learning sooner than the 14-day quarantine requirement. The district will follow the updated guidance from BFHD.
Schools will reach out to the families of currently quarantined students to let them know of their options to return to in-person learning.
April 15, 2021
Our district moves into Stage 4 of the Return To School plan on Monday, April 19. To assist students, families and staff with knowing what will stay the same and what is changing in this next chapter of a unique school year, district and school staff have compiled details in the Stage 4 Implementation, Guidance and Supporting Documents guide.
Some highlights of the primary updates made for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year:
- Details about school schedules, including an 11 a.m. early dismissal on Fridays for all middle and high schools through the end of the school year
- Continuation of the option for middle and high school students and staff working remotely to Zoom into classrooms during in-person learning.
- How families with students learning remotely can continue to access free weekly meal packets from May 1 through the end of the school year.
- How schools will adapt teaching and support for students receiving special education services
- Information about how families can check updated school bus schedules
- General overviews of how elementary schools will manage meals and recess
- How elementary students will have access to in-person learning for specials such as music, art, physical education and library
- The district’s intent to continue providing and supporting COVID-19 vaccination opportunities for students and staff
More specific information regarding operations for individual schools is already being shared with staff and the community and more will be made available in the coming days.
Many of the measures, precautions and options adopted this school year will remain in place in this next stage because health experts and officials indicate we need to remain on guard against COVID-19. We also have students and staff who wish to continue working remotely out of concerns for their own health or that of their family.
This time is also an opportunity for most of our students to receive daily in-person instruction, engage in more of the activities that make our schools so great and get closer to what school was like before COVID-19. This will set up our schools for greater success in the coming 2021-22 school year, when our schools will hopefully return to normal operations.
The district thanks everyone—students, staff, families and the entire community—for the patience and grace extended this school year.
April 13, 2021
To our RSD Community,
The 2020-21 school year has been one of unprecedented challenges in educating our youth while also helping protect the community from COVID-19. We deeply appreciate our school and district staff who have worked to overcome these challenges as well as all of you for supporting them for the work they do.
On Monday, April 19, our district enters the next stage of our Return to School Plan, with most students returning for daily in-person instruction in our schools. While this will be the closest we’ve been to how we traditionally run our schools since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than a year ago, our school operations and instruction will continue to be affected by the public health requirements and precautions necessary to protect our community. This means that a family that wants to continue to have their student Zoom into lessons, they will continue to do so. It also means staff who have been working remotely will continue to have that option.
District staff will communicate the full plan for Stage 4 this week. The Board is hopeful that schools will be able to resume normal operations at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
While some elements of our school operations will be different compared to previous stages of Return To School, our schools will continue to provide the flexibility we have offered to students, families and staff throughout this school year in how they connect, engage and learn.
The Board appreciates that continuing to provide this flexibility means that staff need support. Under Board direction, accommodations for staff have been offered and provided so they can support all students and take care of themselves and their families for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. However, there is no scenario that would be approved by the Board that would exclude student access to learning.
Your Richland School Board
March 23, 2021
We have important news about building our road back to school.
During its March 23 meeting, the Richland School Board set Monday, April 19 as the first day for students in pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 to return to full-time in-person instruction. Wednesday, April 14 through Friday, April 16 will be asynchronous learning days for all students to allow school staff to modify classrooms, amend lesson plans and make other preparations.
The district’s move to full-time in-person learning is contingent upon Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Department of Health providing the legal flexibility for school districts to further reopen as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The district also intends to continue for the remainder of the current school year offering remote learning options through Continued Distance Learning (CDL) at the elementary level, the ability for middle and high school students to attend their classes remotely at their schools as well as Richland Virtual School.
District and school leaders are working through the challenges of bringing more students back into schools while being mindful of precautions needed as COVID-19 continues to impact our community. Please stay tuned for more information as we move toward this next big step.
March 19, 2021
District staff are reviewing the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on preventing the transmission of COVID-19 in schools, including the updated information regarding physical distancing between students.
We are eager to see more students in classrooms engaging with each other and school staff. We also remain committed to ensuring in-person learning is done safely for all and providing families and students not yet ready to return to schools the option to continue learning remotely.
Tentative plans on how to bring more students back into schools for in-person learning have been in development and will be discussed by the Richland School Board at its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 23.
Jan. 12, 2021
We have an important update on efforts to bring RSD secondary students back into schools for in-person learning.
The Richland School Board approved a timeline during its Jan. 12 regular meeting that will begin the transition to in-person learning for middle and high school students at the beginning of the second semester in late January. This timeline was reviewed by local public health officials to ensure it met their recommendations in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in our community and includes finalized class schedules, school operations and safety procedures and protocols developed by school and district leaders in partnership with school staffs.
First Days For In-Person Learning
- Middle & High Schools
- Grade 6 – Wednesday, Jan. 27 (Group A) & Thursday, Jan. 28 (Group B)
- Grades 7-8 – Monday, Feb. 1 (Group A) & Tuesday, Feb. 2 (Group B)
- Grade 9 – Wednesday, Feb. 17 (Group A) & Thursday, Feb. 18 (Group B)
- Grades 10-12 – Monday, Feb. 22 (Group A) & Tuesday, Feb. 23 (Group B)
- Choice Programs
- River’s Edge High School – Thursday, Jan. 28 (All students, five-day schedule)
- Three River’s HomeLink – Tuesday, Jan. 26 (Grades 6-12) & Monday, Feb. 1 (Grades K-5)
- Delta High School – Determined by Pasco School District
- Tri-Tech Skills Center – Determined by Kennewick School District
As part of this move to in-person learning, middle and high schools will use a new full day A/B schedule**, with half of each school’s students attending in-person Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students will have asynchronous learning on school days when not learning in-person. All students will have asynchronous learning on Fridays. Students who choose remote learning will be assigned to either the A or B groups in order to participate remotely in direct instruction on their assigned days. Students learning in-person will receive lunch while at school.
The A/B schedule takes effect for middle school students on Wednesday, Jan. 27 and for high school students on Wednesday, Feb. 17. High school students will use a temporary full-day Remote Schedule from Tuesday, Jan. 26 to Friday, Feb. 12 before they begin their return to in-person learning.
Our established COVID-19 protocols and procedures will allow us to open middle and high schools safely and in alignment with public health requirements and recommendations. Our custodial team is well-trained and well-equipped to clean and sanitize our schools every day. Dade Moeller/NV5, the district’s health and safety consultant, continues to review and advise on our efforts to bring more students back for in-person learning.
School-specific information on the return to in-person learning, such as how students and families can learn which group they are assigned to, will be sent to families in the time before students are back in classrooms. Families should complete the survey sent by schools to indicate whether their child will return for in-person learning if they have not yet done so.
*PreK-12 students enrolled in self-contained special education programs will use the recently implemented four-day in-person instructional model that begins Tuesday, Jan. 26.
**River’s Edge High School will use a five-day in-person learning schedule.
To our RSD Special Education Families,
We want to share an update on changes coming to schedules for students receiving services in our self-contained programs (ERR, BESST, Structured & LifeSkills).
Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 26, the scheduled day for these programs will extend to that of a typical school day Mondays through Thursdays.
- Elementary: 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
- Middle & High School: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.*
*Secondary schedules may vary by site. Please check your school’s website or with a school administrator for specific start times.
All students in these programs will have asynchronous learning on Fridays.
While these schedule changes expand the availability of these programs and their services each school day, individual student schedules may still vary from this model as determined by each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. IEP teams will also continue to determine the type of services each student receives along with how long/frequently they receive those services and the start/end time for each school day.
If you have any questions about these changes, please reach out to your child’s teacher or IEP team.
Dec. 8, 2020
The Richland School Board decided at its Dec. 8 meeting to have fourth- and fifth-grade students return to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 11. This return is contingent upon Benton-Franklin Health District continuing to support in-person learning for elementary students and any direction from state level agencies or from Gov. Jay Inslee in response to COVID-19 activity.
Schools will reach out to fourth- and fifth-grade families to ensure they have the information they need to return to in-person learning in the half-day hybrid learning model. This includes daily schedules, weekly health attestations and requirements for face coverings and physical distancing.
All RSD staff are determined to keep our students safe and help protect our community. We ask everyone to continue following COVID-19 precautions, such as avoiding gatherings, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently and staying home with ill. Doing so will help reduce the risks posed by COVID-19, ensure fourth- and fifth-graders and all our students return to in-person learning and stay in classrooms where staff can best teach and support them.
Nov. 25, 2020
To our RSD community,
I am reaching out to share with you that during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24 the Richland School Board decided to return students in fourth and fifth grades to distance learning beginning Monday, Nov. 30 in response to challenges in opening our elementary schools for in-person learning.
Fourth- and fifth-graders who were attending in-person learning will shift back to our Continuous Learning 2.0 model with their classmates. Families that moved their child in those grades to Continued Distance Learning (CDL) and have been assigned a new teacher will remain in those new classroom assignments.
Other in-person activities in our schools will continue, including:
- In-person learning for students in kindergarten through third grade, students at the Early Learning Center and in designated special education programs
- In-person tutoring for fourth- and fifth-grade students who are most in need of support until those grades return to in-person learning
- In-person support for middle and high school students struggling with distance learning
- Student activities permitted by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and current public health requirements and guidelines will continue
Additionally, the Board has approved a plan for middle and high schools to be ready for students to begin in-person learning as early as Jan. 24 when the second semester begins if community circumstances with COVID-19 allow.
All of us—myself, the Board and our staff—are disappointed in this setback to our Return To School efforts. We, along with our students and families, want the same thing—our students back in the classroom with friends, teachers and support staff where they can fully engage and connect with their learning. However, we must be sure we can provide in-person learning safely and effectively. We knew this school year would be challenging as COVID-19 continues to move through our community but that doesn’t make this any easier.
It is understandable that your student may be sad, angry, depressed or anxious at these events. I have included some resources from our teams of school psychologists and counselors to help parents and guardians navigate these conversations and help their children cope.
- How To Ask What Kids Are Feeling
- Teenagers & Reopening
- Anxiety: Helping Handout For School & Home (PDF)
- Depression: Helping Handout For School & Home (PDF)
It will take all of us working together to support all of our students in this current moment and move toward bringing them back into our schools. This includes masking up, maintaining physical distance, avoiding gatherings outside your household, staying home when ill and frequently washing hands. I am confident that our community can rise to this challenge as it has so many times before. I encourage students and families to reach out to their schools for additional support.
Thank you for your partnership, patience and understanding.
Dr. Shelley Redinger
Nov. 18, 2020
To our RSD families,
Benton-Franklin Health District has issued updated guidance regarding in-person learning in middle and high schools in light of increasing transmission of COVID-19 in our community.
“Given the rapid increase of disease burden in our communities, at this time, I must amend my recommendation to Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick school districts to pause the phased return for middle and high school students,” Health Officer Dr. Amy Person wrote. "...the current rate of disease activity among 10 – 19 year olds...is 3.9 times higher than the disease rate for the elementary school age children when they returned to school in-person in mid-October."
Dr. Person has indicated that most other in-person activities currently occurring in schools may continue with appropriate safeguards and precautions. In RSD, that includes:
- On-site Services provided through designated special education programs
- Hybrid learning for students at the Early Learning Center (ELC) and in kindergarten through Grade 5
- Targeted in-person support for middle and high school students
- Outdoors athletic training and practices
The Richland School Board will discuss this new guidance at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24. District and school leaders are continuing to work on in-person learning plans for middle and high school students so they can return to classrooms once the Board makes that decision.
Oct. 29, 2020
The district continues to work toward bringing students back into schools for in-person learning. Here are some of the latest developments on those efforts.
- NV5/Dade Moeller, the district’s health and safety consultant, has determined that our elementary schools are prepared to welcome students back for in-person learning.
The company reviewed the district’s written plans, protocols and procedures in response to COVID-19 and also conducted walkthroughs of schools. Those walkthroughs verified availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), measures taken to provide physical distancing in various school settings and efforts to meet public health requirements and best educational practices.
The company will continue to help the district monitor the implementation of COVID-19 precautions and measures as students return to classrooms and will assist with similar reviews for middle and high schools.
- District leaders along with middle and high school administrators are finalizing plans to bring small groups of secondary students needing additional supports into schools to work with staff. Schools will be reaching out those students and their families about schedules, transportation and other details.
- The Richland School Board has directed administrators to bring back plans and options for in-person learning in middle and high schools at the Nov. 10 regular Board meeting. These plans and options will be built upon work done this past summer and early this fall to put students into two groups to accommodate an A/B schedule.
Oct. 20, 2020
To our elementary families,
We want to update you on our plan to begin bringing your children into schools for in-person learning as part of Stage 3 of our Return To School.
District leaders are shifting the target dates for pre-K and elementary students to return to school. The new target dates for pre-K and elementary are as follow:
- DD Preschool (ELC) and kindergartners: Wednesday, Oct. 28
- ECEAP Preschool (ELC) and Grades 1-2: Wednesday, Nov. 4
- Grades 3-5: Thursday, Nov. 12
Students already participating in in-person learning alongside special education services in schools as part of Stage 2 of our Return To School will continue to do so.
This delay in implementing Stage 3 will help the district be sure that newly implemented systems and newly developed protocols and procedures in response to COVID-19 are working as intended. It also will give schools time to address any issues found as part of walkthroughs being conducted by the district’s health and safety consultant NV5/Dade Moeller, ensure staff are properly trained and accommodate students not ready to return to in-person learning and choosing to continue learning remotely.
District leaders understand the challenge and frustration this delay will cause our families. They along with school staff members want to see students and are working hard to be ready to welcome them into schools. Our goal is to make this return to classrooms successful and as stress-free for students, families and school staff alike. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we move forward.
Oct. 14, 2020
To our RSD families,
The Richland School Board has made several important decisions to begin bringing more of our students back into our schools for in-person learning:
- Adoption of learning schedules for students when they resume in-person learning in Stage 3 of our Return To School:
- Elementary: A.M./P.M. model (half of the students attend in the morning and half in the afternoon).
- Middle & high school: A/B model (students divided into two groups and attend on alternate days for two days of in-person learning per week. Friday will be a remote learning day for all students and planning day for staff).
- Delta High/Tri-Tech Skills Center: bus transportation will be available for students in those programs when the Pasco and Kennewick school districts resume in-person learning respectively.
- Setting target dates for elementary students to return to in-person learning in our schools:
- DD Preschool and Kindergarten: Monday, Oct. 26
- ECEAP Preschool and Grades 1-2: Monday, Nov. 2
- Grades 3-5: Monday, Nov. 9
- Clearing high school students to begin participating in athletic training, conditioning and practice activities in alignment with restrictions and requirements set by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), the Washington Department of Health (DOH) and Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD)
Our elementary families will receive further information from the district and their child’s school in the coming days to help prepare for in-person instruction. This will include school and bus schedules; details about daily health attestation, face covering and physical distancing requirements, how we’ll handle potential COVID-19 activity in schools and how we will serve students and families not yet ready to resume in-person learning. High school athletic programs will begin reaching out to their student-athletes about the plan for athletic activities.
While we are eager to see and engage students in person, we understand some have concerns bringing students back into schools as our community continues to be impacted by COVID-19. We want to assure you that the safety of students and staff is our priority.
Our protocols and procedures will allow us to open school buildings safely and in alignment with public health requirements and recommendations. We have ordered personal protective equipment to meet the needs of each school. Our custodial team is well-trained and well-equipped to clean and sanitize our schools every day. And the district has hired Dade Moeller/NV5, an international health and safety consultant that has worked extensively with contractors on the Hanford site, to review our plan and help us make it the best it can be.
Please continue to watch for more information and check our Return To School updates page as we move forward.
Dr. Shelley Redinger
Oct. 9, 2020
Your input is important as Richland School District works toward finalizing the plan for bringing students back into schools in Stage 3 of Return To School. Please take a few minutes to answer some questions on your thoughts of the benefits and challenges of the proposed in-person learning models, the protocols and procedures being implemented to limit the risks from COVID-19 and more.
Want to review the brief presentation of the draft plan by district administrators or the draft document?
Oct. 2, 2020
RSD continues to work toward safely bringing students back into classrooms for some in-person learning where they can best learn and engage with staff and classmates. The Richland School Board has begun reviewing a draft plan for Stage 3 of our Return To School that incorporates everything from athletics to school schedules as well as the response to COVID-19 cases in schools.
District leaders will host brief informational meetings for the community via Zoom at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8 to go over the draft plan and provide opportunities for feedback.
The Board has not yet set a timeline nor selected metrics of COVID-19 activity for the return to in-person learning. Board members have requested district administrators reach out to Benton-Franklin Health District and the Washington Department of Health to clarify their guidance on when it is safe for students to return to school. The district will update the community as soon as the Board reaches a decision on the return to in-person learning.
Sept. 22, 2020
With COVID-19 cases currently declining in Benton County, the Richland School Board is directing district administrators to begin preparing to move the district further down the road back to school for in-person instruction.
The Board has scheduled a special Board workshop for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1 to review a proposed learning plan where students would be provided some in-person learning. During its regular meeting on Sept. 22, the Board discussed a target of mid-October to begin bringing elementary students back into schools for some time in classrooms, with middle and high school students tentatively resuming some in-person instruction after the end of the first quarter in early November.
In addition to developing this learning plan, district administrators will be contacting student families and staff members on their likelihood to return to schools for in-person learning. The Board also asked district leaders to propose options for those students and staff not prepared to return to in-person learning due to current COVID-19 conditions.
The workshop will be conducted via Zoom in compliance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s current order for public meetings to be held virtually in response to COVID-19. A link to the meeting will be available at www.rsd.edu.
Sept. 18, 2020
As part of the Richland School Board’s agenda for its Tuesday, Sept. 22 meeting, there will be discussion of scheduling a special meeting focused on how schools will operate once in-person instruction resumes. Topics of this meeting could include daily student schedules, public health requirements and protocols and a target date for when to bring students back into classrooms. Details about when and how the public may attend that meeting will be shared as soon as the Board determines them.
In anticipation of this special meeting, the Board is not expected to make any decisions regarding when most students will return for some in-person instruction at the Sept. 22 meeting. Board members will receive an update on COVID-19 in the community and the latest information from public health officials.
As we prepare to bring your students back into our schools for in-person learning and services, we want to share a guide to help you and your child get ready to visit schools. Our Stage 2 Implementation, Guidance & Supporting Documents guide provides details on schedules, how student meals will be provided and how we will be ensuring students and staff can stay safe while learning and working in classrooms.
We ask you to please review this document and others such as RSD’s Continuous Learning 2.0 Plan so you are familiar with how we are moving forward. If you have any questions, please reach out to your case manager or IEP team.
We are so excited to see your students and continue providing them the support they need to be successful.
Sept. 17, 2020
A Message From The Richland School Board
We want to thank everyone for the phone calls, emails and feedback shared with board members following Benton-Franklin Health District’s updated guidance that students might return for some in-person learning as early as Oct. 1 if rates of COVID continue to decline in our community. Each of you is thinking of what is best for your children and our community and we deeply appreciate your advocacy.
Some of you are excited at the news our community’s efforts in response to COVID-19 are working and that brings us closer to students being back in our schools and classrooms. Others are encouraged but are wary of moving too quickly and undoing all that hard work that could put students, school staff and the community at large at risk.
Our schools are already working to bring back some students with disabilities for some in-person interactions so they can receive the special education services they need that cannot be provided virtually. We are eager to see more students back in our schools, engaging with teachers and classmates face-to-face. We also intend any return to in-person learning to be done safely and thoughtfully, with proper procedures and protocols aligned with public health requirements and recommendations. We want to bring students back and we want to do it right.
The Board will receive an update on COVID-19 in our community during its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22. The meeting will be broadcast via Zoom and we invite you to tune in.
- Your Richland School Board
Sept. 14, 2020
Benton-Franklin Health District today updated its guidance for schools in Benton County based on preliminary data on COVID-19 case rates. This announcement indicated that most students might return to schools in Benton County for some in-person learning as early as Oct. 1.
The Richland School Board has reviewed the community circumstances regarding COVID-19 at each regular board meeting since determining in late July to begin the school year online. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 22. This meeting will be conducted via Zoom and the public is welcome to attend. A link to that meeting will be posted at www.rsd.edu.
The district will share news of any change to the current online learning format as soon as the Board makes that determination.
Sept. 9, 2020
To all our RSD families,
Thank you for your patience, grace and positivity with our online start to the 2020-21 school year. It is always challenging to do something new and I am humbled by the work being done by our staff, students and families to make this a great year for learning.
While COVID-19 continues to affect our communities, the Richland School Board has determined it is time to begin the transition to in-person learning for some of our students, particularly those unable to receive the special services they need to fully access their education. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 16, students receiving specific services and supports will return to schools for in-person learning on a part-time basis. Learn More About Our Move To Stage 2 Of Our Return To School.
The Board did not make this decision lightly and it came after careful consideration of the needs of students as well as of the precautions needed to protect students, staff and our communities. We now have a busy couple days ahead of working with our staff to help them prepare for this transition and to reach out to the families of the students who will be returning so they know what to expect.
I am confident we can take this step safely, meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable students and establish the model by which we can ultimately bring all our students back into our buildings where we can best serve them.
Dr. Shelley Redinger
Sept. 4, 2020
Happy first day of school for our elementary students & staff! Watch a message from some of our staff about how we’re starting with online learning this school year and how excited we are to see our students even if it is virtually.
Here are a few other quick reminders:
Student Meal Pickup
A reminder that our Student Meal Pickup Program starts today (Friday, Sept. 4) at our elementary, middle and high schools. All children 18 and younger may receive a FREE weekly meal packet containing a breakfast and lunch for each day. Student identification is not required and parents/guardians may pickup meals without their children present.
Families eligible for free or reduced-price meals are encouraged to still complete an application for the 2020-21 school year to help with future student meal planning. View the application as well as our list of distribution sites and times.
Technical Support & Internet Assistance
If your student is experiencing difficulties with their district-issued device, you can contact our IT department at ChromebookHelp@rsd.edu or by calling (509) 967-6162. Questions about a parent or student PowerSchool account can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your student does not have Internet access at home and acquiring it is a financial hardship for your family:
- Contact the Communities In Schools site coordinator for your child’s school or reach out to their Benton and Franklin counties office
- Learn about government and non-profit programs that can help pay for Internet service for qualifying families
- View a list of public wi-fi hotspots in our community
And lastly, be safe while having fun this Labor Day weekend!
Aug. 27, 2020
Hello RSD Families!
We’re so excited for our middle and high school students to start the school year on Tuesday, Sept. 1 and for our elementary student and families to begin connecting with their teachers ahead of their first day on Friday, Sept. 4. Keep reading to learn the latest about how we’ll be providing student meals, how students and families can start getting ready for online learning and more. View these updates and more about our online start to the school year.
Our school cooks and cashiers are gearing up to provide breakfast and lunch items to students. These will be available during a weekly curbside pickup every Friday beginning Sept. 4 at our elementary and high schools from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and our middle schools from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. A student may pickup their weekly meals at any school site but will need to provide a student ID with a barcode (these are being distributed by schools) or other enrollment verification.
We also need you to help us make this program a success! We will have a soft launch of our meal distribution from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at all four middle schools. Students may receive three days’ worth of breakfast and lunch for FREE at this time. Please bring the student’s school ID, even if it is one from the previous school year.
Our tutorials to help to students and families become familiar and comfortable with our Core 4 learning platforms are now live! These tutorials, which are broken down by those being used at the elementary and secondary levels, are available through the Canvas learning management system.
2020-21 Print Calendars
We will be mailing a print version of our 2020-21 calendar to all of our families. Along with beautiful student art it features each year, it will include a message from Superintendent Dr. Shelley Redinger, reference information on our online start to school and other notifications. If you have recently moved and not already updated your new address with your child’s school, please be sure to contact the school to notify them of that change.
School Supplies & Chromebooks
Schools have begun reaching out to families about their back-to-school events and updates, including pickup times for learning materials. View a list of pickup dates and times for our elementary and middle schools. Students will continue to use the Chromebooks they were issued by the district last school year (students new to the district should contact their school to learn how to get their device).
State health officials are easing immunization deadlines for K-12 students starting the school year online. Students will need to be up-to-date on their immunizations once they return to in-person learning, including small group learning or extracurricular activities, or provide documentation of a valid exemption from a healthcare provider.
Aug. 20, 2020
Many are already beginning to hear from schools about everything from elementary class placements to course schedules. Below are several district-wide updates as we move closer to the first day of school.
Daily Online Learning Schedules
We have finalized our Continuous Learning 2.0 Plan which includes our schedule for live online instruction for all of our students.
Details about how students can further structure their learning each day through recorded instruction, virtual group work or reaching out to their teachers for feedback and assistance can be found in the final version of Continuous Learning 2.0.
2020-21 Calendar Change
The district is modifying the calendar so Sept. 1-3 will be days for elementary families to connect with teachers and start building relationships before direct online instruction begins for those students on Sept. 4. Teachers will be contacting families to schedule these meetings via Zoom or phone.
The first day of school for middle and high school students remains Sept. 1.
The three days prior to Thanksgiving break will now be regular elementary instructional days.
Our community’s support of our 1:1 Technology Initiative ensures every student in our schools will have their own digital device to connect with their teachers and classmates online.
Schools will schedule Chromebook distribution opportunities for new students and those who turned them in at the end of the 2019-20 school year in the coming weeks. Students who held on to their devices over the summer but are changing schools or will not be attending RSD schools this year need to contact their most recent school and schedule a time to return their device. Families will need to complete registration for the device online, which also includes the opportunity to purchase a protection plan for $20 per student device for the entire school year.
District staff are developing video tutorials to help families navigate and use our Core 4 learning platforms so they can assist their students, monitor their progress and stay in touch with teachers. We will share these tutorials before Sept. 1.
Our IT staff are prepared to assist our students and families so students are able to learn online each school day. Students and parents/guardians may reach out to IT staff regarding problems with district-issued technology at ChromebookHelp@rsd.edu or by calling 509) 967-6162, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
We have also put together a list of options for families who need help acquiring Internet service for their students. You can access those options by visiting our Technical Assistance webpage.
Aug. 12, 2020
We want to follow up on our message from July 29 following the Richland School Board’s decision to start the 2020-21 school year in an online learning format. We understand this decision deeply impacts our entire community and we are working hard to ensure that we create the best learning experience possible for students as well as support for families.
District staff have developed our Return To School Plan and continue to work on our approach to online learning, called Continuous Learning 2.0. Additionally, changes to typical back-to-school issues are addressed in our Back-To-School Guide and we continue to update our frequently asked questions document.
Families have three learning options coming into the 2020-21 school year.
• Traditional, School-Based Learning: Teacher-directed instruction provided through our elementary, middle and high schools, either in-person or via distance learning depending on public health requirements and restrictions. This is the default enrollment option for all RSD students.
• Parent Partnership Learning: Parents manage and lead their child’s education. Families may choose to do this option in partnership with Three Rivers HomeLink providing guidance and support, with any in-person aspects dependent on public health requirements and restrictions. The district is expanding capacity at HomeLink to address increased enrollment demand.
• Teacher-Directed Online Learning: Dedicated teacher-directed instruction through a fully online model.
• APEX/River’s Edge High School (high school credit courses only)
• Richland Virtual School (K-12). Families commit their students to receive instruction fully through an online model for the entirety of the 2020-21 school year. The enrollment cutoff for RVS will be Aug. 19
Which option is best for your family?
• If your priority is to have your child return to in-person instruction this school year, we recommend keeping them enrolled in traditional, school-based learning.
• If you are concerned about your child returning to in-person instruction or your family requires a consistent schedule throughout the school year, we recommend enrolling them in teacher-directed online learning or pursuing parent partnership learning.
The Richland School Board is continuing to assess when and how to bring students back for in-person instruction.
School Supplies & Technology
Elementary and middle schools will reach out to families about pickup times for district-provided school supplies to use at home. Schools may have future learning material distributions through the school year while in a distance learning format depending on student grade level and courses.
All RSD schools will ensure each student has a district-issued digital device to use for the 2020-21 school year. District staff are developing tutorials and other resources so families can assist their students, monitor their progress and connect with their teachers. Families that do not have reliable Internet access at home should visit our Technical Assistance webpage for resources.
The district understands the challenge families face when it comes to supervision of children while schools are in a full-time or part-time distance learning format. We request all of our parents complete our Childcare Survey so we can further develop options for supporting families.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton & Franklin Counties will continue to provide childcare in their facilities located next to RSD elementary schools. District staff are working with the Club on expanding capacity while continuing to follow public health requirements. Learn more about Boys & Girls Club childcare and how to register at greatclubs.org.
• Child Care Aware of Washington is available to assist families in identifying childcare options in the community.
• Families may consider less formal options, such as teaming up with one or two other families they know to share childcare needs and provide their children with socialization opportunities.
District staff are also looking at making training opportunities available for child care providers to learn how to support students participating in distance learning while in their care.
We want nothing more than to have our students in school, where our staff can best provide them the education they need and build relationships that can encourage and inspire them. We look forward to welcoming students back into our buildings and are making every effort to make this a safe and successful school year.
Aug. 5, 2020
Answers to 50 additional questions we've received from parents, staff and community members have been added to our Return To School FAQ document.
We have loaded an updated draft of Continuous Learning 2.0, which includes revamped daily and weekly online learning schedules for pre-K, elementary, middle school and high school students.
Also, a reminder that the enrollment cutoff for the new Richland Virtual School will be at 5 p.m., Aug. 19.
July 29, 2020
To our students, families, staff and the entire RSD community,
The start of the 2020-21 school year is weeks away and this is when the traditional preparations for another year of learning and exploration in our schools would be beginning. Teachers and paraeduators setting up classrooms. Cooks opening their kitchens and preparing for the many meals they provide. Secretaries answering questions and assisting families. Operations staff preparing buildings and grounds for thousands of students.
Just like the ending to the 2019-20 school year, though, the beginning of the coming school year is going to be different from what we all are accustomed to. COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to our community. Today we know that younger people, including those aged 10 – 18 and college students, are also at risk. We have many staff at risk due to age or health conditions. Not only are many sick with COVID, but some take a long time to recover, some are hospitalized, and some die. This is a terrifying disease even for those who recover.
This commitment to safety paired with the recommendation of Benton-Franklin Health District is why the Richland School Board has decided to start the 2020-21 school year in a distance learning format. Our newly developed Continuous Learning 2.0 will provide an improved and enhanced distance learning experience, providing more consistency, accountability and certainty so students and staff can be successful. That document ties into our Return To School Plan that details the necessary considerations for reopening schools, including necessary safety precautions. We encourage everyone in the community to review both documents and check them in the future as we continue to update them.
We want nothing more than to have our students in school, where our staff can best provide them the education they need and build relationships that can encourage and inspire them. The Board, with guidance from state education and public health authorities, will establish a metric to assess when it will be safe for in-person instruction to resume in schools. Board members will review community conditions regarding COVID-19 at each regular meeting going forward so students may be brought back into schools at the earliest opportunity.
We understand the hardship this online start to the school year will cause some families. We are developing means to share childcare options and answer questions from childcare providers regarding virtual instruction. We are prepared to assist students who do not have reliable Internet access at home so they can be fully engaged in their education. We are identifying resources and building social-emotional supports into instruction to assist students in coping with the challenges they are facing.
Continue to look for updates and changes regarding instruction, school operations and more at www.rsd.edu, our dedicated Return To School Planning Updates webpage and our official Facebook and Twitter feeds. Additionally, we will send direct emails to our families and others in our community who have elected to receive them whenever we have news. Lastly, we have developed a Frequently Asked Questions document to answer the many questions we have received about reopening schools this fall.
We want to thank everyone for their patience and perseverance over the past months. On behalf of all our district and school staff, we ask for your continued grace and partnership as Together We Educate Every Student For Success.
Richland School Board Dr. Shelley Redinger, Superintendent
Rick Jansons, President
Jill Oldson, Vice President
July 14, 2020
The Richland School Board will have a series of virtual town hall meetings July 21-23 for community members to provide live input on proposed models for reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year.
All meetings will be conducted through the web-based Zoom video-conferencing platform and will be roughly one hour long. A board member and district administrator will lead each meeting.
Attendees will have the opportunity to make spoken comments on the reopening models for schools and other learning options for families, such as parent-directed homeschooling through Three Rivers HomeLink or fully online teacher-directed learning through the new Richland Virtual School.
No decisions will be made during these town hall meetings nor will board members or administrators discuss matters outside district control, such as public health requirements or direction from OSPI. Each meeting will be recorded and notes will be taken by district staff.
- Community members making comments should keep them as brief as possible, with a limit of 1:30.
- Any prepared statements/comments should be emailed to BoardFeedback@rsd.edu
- After making comments, a community member must wait until all others wishing to make comments have done so before being called on again.
- Board members and administrators will answer questions concisely during the meeting, with follow up as necessary to the community member at a later time if they provide contact information.
Meeting Schedule & Focus
Tuesday, July 21 — Elementary Schools (grades K-5)
Wednesday, July 22 — Secondary Schools (grades 6-12)
Thursday, July 23 — Special Education
July 13, 2020
District administrators will present a variety of school reopening options to the Richland School Board at its meeting on July 14. These options range from our goal of a full return to normal school operations to the fully online Continuous Learning model required by the state, with several hybrid models combining aspects of in-person and distance learning.
Staff continue to review and amend the details of each of these options daily in a working document so the Board may have the most up-to-date information needed to determine the district’s ability to open schools safely, serve students equitably and meet requirements set by state education and public health authorities.
The district has put together a “snapshot” of this working document for families and the community at large to review. This “snapshot” represents the planning for the identified options as of the morning of Monday, July 13. It is not a final recommendation to the Board for how schools may reopen.
The district is planning to schedule virtual town hall meetings for the community to provide live input on these models before the a final recommendation is presented to the Board on July 28.
July 7, 2020
The first version of the Return To School FAQ is now available. This document, which provides answers to questions posed during the recent virtual town halls as well those submitted to the district through various channels. This is a living document—it will be updated through the coming weeks when new questions come up and if guidance and requirements set by state education and public health officials change in response to COVID-19.
Thank you to the more than 4,600 parents and guardians who responded to the latest Return To School survey. Your responses are crucial to helping the district craft options to accommodate the needs of students going into the fall.
June 29, 2020
District leaders continue to review how schools may open this fall for in-person instruction so students can better connect with their teachers and build relationships. District leaders also want to be prepared in case community health conditions limit how often and how many students may be in schools at any one time.
The latest Return To School survey asks families to assess their interest in some of the options being developed and what more they need to know to make decisions for their children’s education this fall. The survey will be open through Monday, July 6 at noon.
June 24, 2020
The first draft of the district's Return To School Plan is here. While some decisions still need to be made, this document outlines the work that will take place this summer so students and staff can be successful and safe during the 2020-21 school year.
So what are the next steps?
- District leaders are gauging interest from our families in enrolling their children in either the parent-directed educational program at Three Rivers HomeLink or a new teacher-directed online educational program being developed in partnership with Spokane Public Schools’ Virtual Learning program. Look for a survey on these options in the coming days.
- State health and education officials have indicated we will most likely only be able to offer part-time in-person instruction if schools are allowed to open in the fall. District and school leaders will begin looking at how school schedules can be designed that provide students meaningful instruction and opportunities to build relationships while being responsive to the needs of families. A recommendation on a school schedule will be presented to the Richland School Board in a public meeting on July 28.
- Staff are continuing to strengthen resources for student health and wellness, while developing procedures and protocols to meet public health requirements for staff and students when schools reopen.
- Staff will begin reviewing the recently released return-to-play guidance from Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and determining when and how student activities and athletics may resume.
June 22, 2020
OSPI has released a draft version of its additional guidance as well as a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) for reopening schools and serving students who receive special education services. State education leaders are seeking feedback on the draft which can be sent to email@example.com by noon Monday, July 6, 2020.
Recordings and notes from the district's town hall meetings seeking input on reopening schools are also available. Please note that due to a technical error, there is no recording available of the town hall meeting on Online Learning.
Elementary Town Hall
Online Learning Town Hall
Secondary Town Hall
Safety Town Hall
Special Education Town Hall
June 13, 2020
The Richland School Board will have a series of virtual town hall meetings beginning June 16 for community members to provide live input on elements of the district's Return To School Planning efforts.
All meetings will be conducted through the web-based Zoom video-conferencing platform and will be roughly one hour long. A board member will lead each meeting along with a district administrator on a specific element of our schools. They will seek community feedback on lessons learned from our sudden entry into at-home learning in the spring of 2020; key student, staff and family needs and considerations that need to be included in our planning.
No decisions will be made during these meetings nor will board members or administrators discuss matters outside district control, such as public health requirements or direction from OSPI. Each meeting will be recorded and notes will be taken by district staff.
We want to hear from as many community members as possible during each meeting. Here’s how we will aim to accomplish that:
- Community members making comments should keep them as brief as possible, with a limit of 1:30.
- Any prepared statements/comments should be emailed to BoardFeedback@rsd.edu
- After making comments, a community member must wait until all others wishing to make comments have done so before being called on again.
- Board members and administrators will answer questions concisely during the meeting, with follow up as necessary to the community member at a later time if they provide contact information.
Meeting Schedule & Topics
Tuesday, June 16
Wednesday, June 17
Thursday, June 18
June 12, 2020
The Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) released its guidance for reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year late in the morning on June 11. The document includes health and safety requirements, rules and guidelines drafted in collaboration with the state Department of Health (DOH) and the Governor’s office.
District leaders are reviewing the document as work continues in developing potential options for reopening schools. While face-to-face learning is the goal, OSPI has indicated that districts should be prepared for limited face-to-face learning by using some form of the following models:
- Split or rotating schedules with distance learning,
- Phased-in opening with at-home learning, and
- At-home learning 2.0, a more effective remote learning system.
OSPI’s latest guidance also noted that all districts reopening schools must implement specific measures, such as requiring all those in schools—students, staff, parents and other visitors—to wear masks. The district will incorporate these requirements into its planning.
District leaders will continue to work in partnership with and inform students, staff, and families in reopening efforts. The Richland School Board is planning virtual town hall meetings to gather more input from the community as the district moves toward welcoming students back in the fall.
The district will also work with Benton-Franklin Health District and be mindful that we could face tighter restrictions than other districts if Benton County is still in Phase 1 of Gov. Inslee’s Safe Start Plan in the fall.
June 10, 2020
Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent parent survey. Interested in seeing the results?
We are working on further opportunities for community members to give input, such as through a virtual town hall meeting, and will share details about that event soon.
June 5, 2020
Since announcing the district's Return To School Planning efforts on June 1, here is the latest information on the ongoing work to reopen schools in the fall.
- Our parent survey on reopening scenarios and other questions has received more than 5,000 responses to date. These responses, combined with those to prior surveys regarding At-Home Learning, are providing valuable insight on how best to serve students and families going forward. The district is planning further opportunities for the community to share and engage in planning efforts.
- While it remains unclear what guidance and restrictions from state leaders and public health agencies will be in place when school resumes in the fall, schools will almost certainly be impacted across the full spectrum of operations, from student instruction and transportation to nutrition services and co-curricular activities. District leaders have seen and appreciate the comments from community members calling for school to resume normally in the fall. It is crucial the district is prepared for the most restrictive scenarios.
- Decisions regarding reopening schools will be guided by the values reflected in the district's Strategic Goal. This includes seeing to the health and safety of students and staff, ensuring each student has equitable access to opportunities and working together with our whole community so our children have the resources and encouragement to reach their potential.
- The district is considering six operating scenarios in its initial planning efforts for reopening schools:
- Normal Operations - Students attend school and other student activities as they would in a typical school year with additional cleaning and protective measures.
- Alternating Days - Students attending for full days of learning at school alternating with full days of learning at home.
- Half Days - Students attending for half days at-school and then learning at home half-days.
- Divide Subjects - Some specific subjects offered at-school and other subjects offered at home.
- Divide Grades - K-3 students attend classes at school while older students in grades 4-12 learn from home.
- Full-Time Distance Learning - All students participate in instruction at home through distance learning full-time in case school buildings remain closed or are closed after the school year begins.
- Most of these scenarios pose a significant change to the school day and require collaboration between various employee groups, administrators, students and families. Teams of teachers, administrators and community members are studying survey input and other feedback from families and staff as they develop potential solutions and proposals for reopening schools and serving students.
- The district's goal is to have a plan for the fall completed by June 30, with a preliminary version of this plan presented to the Richland School Board and available to the public before that date. The district will notify the community as it moves toward finalizing that plan and preparing to welcome students back.