Prosser High School sign file photo

A sign for Prosser High School is seen in this file photo.

Sep. 1--The day before the start of the new school year, Prosser School District officials said they were postponing the first day of school by a week.

The new start of their online classes is now Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Not all parents were understanding of the decision.

"Highly disappointed in our school district," one student's mother posted on social media. "You all had since March to start preparing and you waited until the last minute."

The district posted a note online to guardians and parents Monday morning explaining the delay, with some parents reporting getting a phone call about midday.

"Because of some of the logistical realities in offering instruction in an online format, we are encountering barriers which are prohibiting us from creating a positive experience for your child," said the note.

Delaying the start of school will allow the district to best serve local families and to allow students more time to become familiar with the electronic devices and online platforms they will use for school, said the statement.

Prosser school officials did not respond to phone and email messages left by the Tri-City Herald requesting more information, including how the week's classes would we made up.

As recently as Saturday, school officials were posting instructions on how to use computers to log onto classes on Sept 1.

On Thursday, the district had posted that "hotspots" that allow students without home internet service to connect electronically to virtual classes were back-ordered. Students were being told to come to the school district parking lot to access school internet service.

On Monday, some Prosser residents were defending the delay, saying that many school districts were scrambling to come up with online lesson plans.

"Giving the teachers and techs time, will make it a better experience for kids and parents, caregivers and tutors," said one resident.

The Prosser School District serves about 2,700 students and has about 150 teachers, according to the Public School Review website.

School board to meet

The Prosser School District plans a special board meeting by video conference at 7 p.m. Sept. 2.

The agenda includes an update on the state of the district, enrollment information, student meals information and approvals related to elementary school construction projects.

Any public comments must be emailed in advance to julie.hyatt@prosserschools.org. Information on how to watch or listen to the meeting is at prosserschools.org.

Prosser has been hard hit by the coronavirus, according to data from the Benton Franklin Health District.

Data from the Benton Franklin Health District shows about six of every 100 residents has had a confirmed case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

However, the spread of the infection has slowed in August.

There were 134 cases of COVID-19 confirmed by positive tests results for Prosser residents in July and that dropped to 55 cases in August.

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