Teachers March

A group of parents, teachers and students hold signs along West Highland Avenue in Hermiston on Saturday, March 13, 2021, during a rally in favor of a full return to in-person schooling.

Hermiston School District announced on Tuesday, March 23, that all students will return to in-person classes full time, five days a week starting April 13.

The announcement, which came shortly before the Hermiston Herald went to print, stated the change was made possible by the unexpected update to the state’s Safe Schools, Ready Learners safety rules on Monday, March 22, that allowed districts to shrink the space between students’ desks from 6 feet to 3 feet.

Students will have school off on April 12 to allow staff to prepare. When they return, elementary students will attend from 7:55 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a 1:45 pm release on Wednesdays. Middle school students will attend from 8:30 a.m. to 3:18 p.m., with a 9:15 a.m. start on Wednesdays. High school students will go from 8:25 a.m. to 3:25 p.m., with a 9:10 a.m. start on Wednesdays.

“This is welcome news, following updated federal guidance,” Superintendent Tricia Mooney said in a statement. “I want to express my gratitude for the community’s support and for everyone doing their part to help keep each other safe and reduce case counts.”

On March 23, Gov. Kate Brown also announced Umatilla County will remain at the high risk level of restrictions for COVID-19 for another two weeks and Morrow County will remain at low risk.

Oregon Health Authority assesses COVID-19 cases and test positivity every 14 days to determine the level of restrictions for each county. The risk levels determine the capacity allowed for indoor dining establishments, gyms, churches, event centers and other gathering places.

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