Gov. Jay Inslee has extended the closure of all schools in Washington state for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year and expects instruction to move toward a distance learning model. While Richland School District looked forward to the possibility of schools reopening at some point this spring, the health of our community is our priority. Limiting social contact is crucial to slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus and ensuring health care providers have the resources to provide care.
This closure means our middle and high school students will lose most of their second semester in the classroom and our elementary students the entirety of their third trimester. This will have a significant impact on our students, from course credits and student preparation for the next grade level to how we provide services to students with unique needs.
We are having conversations with teachers about how to move our At-Home Learning program to the next level so students can keep learning. We are working with nutrition services and bus drivers about maintaining our Student Meal Assistance program so students continue to receive the meals they need. And our maintenance and operations staff continue to work to keep our schools in top shape so they are ready for students and staff when in-person classes resume.
Addressing this new challenge will require planning, cooperation and patience from everyone in our community, from school staff and administrators to parents and community partners. We will continue to inform the community as we are able to answer questions and determine a path forward. We are deeply grateful for our community’s support and hope everyone will join us in making sure we continue to educate every student for success.