LOWER YAKIMA VALLEY — School districts across the valley came forward to announce their reopening plans for the fall term after Governor Inslee and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) made their recommendations on Aug. 5 on how schools should proceed based on their infection risk, suggesting moderate to high risk areas move forward with the remote model of Continuous Learning 2.0.


On Wednesday morning, Aug. 5, Grandview School District released their plans to go into a remote model for reopening schools in a public letter from Superintendent Henry Strom.

The superintendent wrote in the open letter that Grandview School District officials have prepared a four-stage reopening plan for this next school year starting on Thursday, Aug. 27.

With guidance from the Yakima Health District (YHD) and OSPI and “With safety, security, and learning in mind, we are announcing that we will be beginning the new school year in our Stage A,” Strom conveyed.

Stage A consists of all students in the Grandview School District taking part in remote learning for the entire first trimester, which is 60 days long. The school district will work closely with YHD throughout the trimester to determine when it would be safe to move out of Stage A.

The online learning includes new instruction every day, traditional grading policies, attendance and engagement policies back in place, and parent support will be offered.


Granger Superintendent Dr. Brian Hart issued an announcement in accordance from YHD and OSPI direction, the school district will start their remote learning model beginning Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Dr. Hart assured the model will be different from the spring model and the possibility of small groups of students being able to come in for in-person instruction.

Granger School District will remain in their remote learning model with continuous re-evaluation for the first quarter, which ends on Friday, Oct. 30, “…with the hope that we can move to some in-person learning in coordination and consultation with the Yakima Department of Health,” the superintendent conveyed in his letter to the district.

Dr. Hart assured parents that while remote cannot replace in-person instruction, “…we are committed to developing a high-quality remote learning model that offers meaningful, supportive, and engaging instruction.”


On Wednesday, July 29, Assistant Superintendent Deanna Flores of Prosser School District addressed the public on the reopening plan on YouTube, announcing they will go forward with a remote learning model.

Flores stated, “When school returns to an in-person format, parents will have the option of continuing their students online for the remainder of the school year.”

There will be access to different learning resources for students and parents which will involve reading assignments, video instruction, quizzes, video conferences, and links to resource materials, according to Flores. Attendance and grading will be monitored to track student progress.

The assistant superintendent declared all students will be issued Chromebooks and the platform of learning will be the same across the board also.

She also assured parents and students that there will be training made available to assist in learning.

“As long as we all work together, we can help our students succeed. Thank you,” Flores concluded.


After the Aug. 3 Facebook Live event hosted by Superintendent Brad Van Beek discussing the potential plans to reopen schools on their Aug. 25 start date, the Sunnyside Christian School Board approved of the proposed in-person return at their Thursday, Aug. 6, meeting.

During Van Beek’s address on Facebook, he emphasized that due to the small numbers of students, it is possible to go into the in-person model. “These plans that we’re putting in place is not only best for the safety of our kids, but just the educational, emotional, social needs that they have,” he conveyed.

A direct letter to the parents of Sunnyside Christian has not been released on the private school’s website or social media site, SSC High School Principal Dean Wagenaar confirmed letters will be emailed to parents communicating the details of the reopening plans.


On the afternoon of Aug. 5, Toppenish School District Superintendent John Cerna announced that Toppenish will be following OSPI’s guidance and “…all students will begin the school year on August 25, 2020, with a comprehensive distance learning program.”

Students will be issued Chromebooks and will not attend school in person until safety standards for return are met.

Cerna continued, “The distance learning plan has been revised significantly from the experience students had in the spring.”

Toppenish will open school buildings as soon as it is safe to do so. Cerna confirmed that a schedule for disbursing Chromebooks next week and class schedules will be available soon.


Superintendent Doug Burge announced that Zillah School district will start their remote learning model from Wednesday, Aug. 26, until Thursday, Oct. 8, after re-evaluating the county’s infection rate.

Burge stated in his letter to the community, “After receiving updated guidance from our local health department, OSPI, and our Governor we felt it was in the best interest of our community to notify our families as early as possible.”

Burge reiterated Zillah School District is committed to providing quality education to their students and that the health and safety of the students and staff “remain our top priority.”

“We are focusing on professional development for staff, enhanced technology that can better meet the needs of our students and staff,” the superintendent conveyed.

According to Burge, they will continue to analyze their services and adjust as needed.

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