Hermiston School District announced Friday afternoon, Nov. 6, that it will pause all in-person student activities starting Monday, Nov. 9 until further notice.

The pause includes the limited in-person instruction that had been taking place for special education and Newcomers students, and onsite extra-curricular activities, including sports practices and conditioning.

“I am heartbroken over this turn of events,” Superintendent Dr. Tricia Mooney said in a statement. “These student interactions – teacher to student and with peers – is vital to the well being of all involved, students and adults!"

According to the news release sent out by the district, the pause was spurred by the announcement by Gov. Kate Brown on Friday that in light of rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases she was ordering a two-week "pause" for the counties with the most concerning trends, including Umatilla County.

Instead of going back to Phase 1 or baseline and closing businesses, the pause limits indoor social gatherings to no more than six people not from the same household, limits restaurants and recreation facilities to no more than 50 people inside at once, suspends visitors to care facilities and asks employers to have all employees who can work from home do so. The restrictions will last from Wednesday, Nov. 11 to Wednesday Nov. 25 (the day before Thanksgiving). 

State and county health officials have stated that unlike previous outbreaks driven primarily by workplaces, current outbreaks have mostly been traced back to social gatherings between family and friends, including Halloween parties.

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