The Sunnyside School District Board took official action and voted unanimously for the return of students into the classroom for face-to-face learning, five days per week on Monday, March 29.

SSD Board President Michelle Perry said they hope to be able to announce a start date at their next workshop meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, April 12, 6:30 p.m., on Zoom or in-person at the Sunnyside High School Auditorium.

“Since our working conditions will change for our certified staff, they have to complete another Memorandum of Understanding on the work environment. Before we can start back, we have to wait for the teachers to agree on the MOU,” Perry stated during an interview on Monday, April 5.

During the Yakima County Board of Health meeting on Wednesday, March 31, they discussed a need for additional clarity on the Washington State Department of Health recommendations for students in grades K-12.

On March 25, the Centers for Disease Control updated spacing students three feet apart rather than six feet apart, provided that these areas do not have high community transmission.

In areas with high community transmission, student may still be spaced three feet apart if they follow the co-horting model, according to the YHD media release on April 2.

The Board of Health approved a motion which stated:

“The Yakima County Board of Health recommends that Yakima County schools start making plans to return to school full time using current Department of Health guidelines and using cohort models when metrics require to accomplish this when we don’t meet case rates or test positivity rates.”

“If we can do it, we want them back in school, even if it was for a short term. We want them back five days per week, so our kids can get the most out of the school year,” Perry expressed.

Board Member Sandra Linde acknowledged they have heard from many parents supporting the return for traditional, classroom teaching.

Perry added that she has heard similar support from classified staff, educators, teachers, community members.

“They want our kids back to some sort of normalcy,” District Superintendent Kevin McKay said.

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email PShelby@SunnysideSun.com

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