The Pendleton School District had its first day of the 21-22 school year on Tuesday, August 31. Sixth grade and freshmen students started on Monday for their orientation events, and kindergartners and first graders had a soft start this week, attending only one day at their new schools. Superintendent Chris Fritsch said the first few days had gone well, and students and teachers were happy to be back for full-time, in-person instruction. “We are very pleased with the first days at our school buildings and happy to be welcoming back our students,” Fritsch said.
The overall number of students currently enrolled at PSD is at or near projected numbers. The Pendleton Virtual Learning Academy (PVLA) is a fully online education in which students remain enrolled in PSD. The K-8 PVLA coordinator, Jenny Corey, said they expect to get a few more students in the coming weeks.
For the new school year, the Pendleton School District hired 29 new licensed employees across the district. These include 18 teachers at the elementary level, six at the middle school, four at the high school and one middle school counselor. “We are happy with our newly hired staff and look forward to their contributions to our team and to the success of our students,” Superintendent Fritsch said.
Schools have staggered start and end times this year to help reduce the number of students on buses to assist with physical distancing. Elementary schools run 8 AM to 2:30 PM, Sunridge Middle School is 8:45 AM to 3:15 PM and Pendleton High School’s day is 8:40 AM to 3:35 PM.
The district is utilizing many of the same COVID-19 mitigation protocols as last year, including keeping students distanced when possible, wearing face coverings, encouraging good hygiene and frequent cleaning of common areas. “Our building staffs have worked very hard to ensure we are providing the safest, cleanest environments we can for our students,” Fritsch said.