Umatilla School District

Umatilla School District Superintendent Heidi Sipe checks in with staff and volunteers on a bus delivering school supplies to students in Umatilla on April 1, 2020.

Umatilla School District Superintendent Heidi Sipe has been appointed to a national task force to assist school districts through COVID-19 closures.

Sipe is one of 27 school superintendents from across the country to be selected for the COVID-19 advisory panel put together by The School Superintendents Association, also known as ASAA.

The panel’s first (virtual) meeting will address online learning and how schools can reopen safely once their state allows them to do so.

“Forty-one states are recommending that schools remain closed for the balance of the academic year, including Georgia, Texas and Florida,” said ASAA Executive Director Daniel Domenech. “Some of these states are taking the lead to reopen for business. We know, however, that schools will have to reopen eventually and when they do, it will be in an environment where the virus will be present.”

The association has also been hosting webinars and created an online resource platform for school districts to “share communications strategies, resources and ideas, engage with colleagues across the nation and grow professional learning communities.”

Sipe is one of two Oregon superintendents on the task force, along with Gustavo Balderas, superintendent of the Eugene School District 4J and the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year.

She said one positive that has come out of the pandemic is the way people have worked together to find creative solutions, and she left the panel’s first meeting on May 4 feeling uplifted.

“I’ve already learned much from my colleagues across the nation, and I’m excited to continue working with them,” she said.

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