The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

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By Beka Compton
The Times 

Area schools temporarily return to distance learning

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the area, schools are taking action to protect staff, students


November 26, 2020

Waitsburg, Dayton, and Prescott school districts are battling rising COVID-19 cases and have announced temporary closures or a switch back to virtual learning.

COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising in both Columbia and Walla Walla Counties. In Walla Walla County, there were 571 active cases as of Tuesday, November 24. In Columbia County, there are 20 active cases. Confirmed cases in Waitsburg are now up to 18.

Prescott School District

Prescott School District moved back to the HOPE 1.0 learning model last week after a staff member tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Superintendent Justin Bradford announced last Wednesday, telling students that they would resume the virtual model starting Thursday.

“The move to fully remote learning will be in effect from Thursday, November 19, 2020, through the end of winter break, January 5, 2021,” Superintendent Bradford said in an announcement. “The Prescott School Board of Directors and Superintendent Justin Bradford will reassess school opening plans at the December 17, 2020 school board meeting. At that time, a decision will be made to return to a hybrid school model on January 6, 2021, or continue in remote learning. We are following all necessary protocols and next steps to keep students and staff safe and healthy.”

Superintendent Bradford said the District is working closely with the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health (DCH) to monitor and evaluate the situation.

To stay up to date with Prescott school information, visit http://www.

Waitsburg School District

Over the weekend, Waitsburg School District announced students would attend school from home on November 23 and 24. Students will not have school over Thanksgiving break November 26 and 27 but should plan on returning to school the following Monday, November 30. The District will contact families if the plan changes before Monday.

The school district is working closely with the Walla Walla County DCH to evaluate the safety of returning to in-person instruction and will update parents if the situation should change.

To stay up to date with Waitsburg school decisions, visit their website,

Dayton School District

On Sunday, the Dayton School District announced a temporary closure as cases rose significantly in Columbia County, including two cases associated with the school.

The District announced students would go to distance learning on Tuesday, November 24. A decision will be made on the type of instruction for Monday, November 30, and posted on the District’s website.

Dayton School District announcements can be viewed on their website at


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