Superintendents Message

Our schools are continuing to operate under Comprehensive Distance Learning mode, and it appears this will continue for the foreseeable future.  The current metrics were released back in October but are still based on county COVID case and test rates.  Umatilla County is one of ten counties statewide that are in a “two-week” pause as mandated by Governor Brown.  The reason for this pause is that our county case numbers have recently increased at an alarming rate.  The most recent two-week case count per 100,000 population was over 350.  That rate has to be under 100 in a two-week period in order to start bringing elementary students back into our buildings on a regular basis.  If you would like to review the latest school reopening metrics, please visit the attached link.  COVID-19 Metrics Explainer

One of the most concerning trends we are seeing is that the longer we are in CDL, and the longer our children are isolated from their peers and district staff, more and more students are experiencing various forms of anxiety and depression.  Some of the more common signs of depression include:

Lack or loss of motivation, Sadness or hopelessness, Withdrawal from friends and family, Loss of interest in activities, and Change in school performance

Parents who have concerns about their child’s well-being can contact your child’s school for support and possible resources.  All school sites have school counselors and/or mental health specialists to support our students and families.  Our counseling services are creating small groups and individual contacts and supports for those students who are identified for social and emotional support.  Contact information can be found at

In the event that your child or family member is in immediate danger, you should always call 911.

Other resources include:

SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – is a national helpline that is free and confidential.  They operate 24/7, 365 days a year, and provide referral and information services.  1.800.662.4357.

Lifeways Emergency Mental Health – is the local contractor for supporting community members in Umatilla County.  Pendleton Office – Business Hours - 541.276.6207 & After Hours - 541.947.6021.

Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center – provided for members of CTUIR, as well as other American Indians and Alaska Natives in Umatilla and Union counties.  Behavioral Health Business Hours (7:30 am to 4 pm) - 541.240.8696 & After Hours - 1.800.273.8255.

School Based Health Center – by appointment only at Sunridge Middle School.  Business Hours (8 am to 3:30 pm) – 541.966.3432.

I sincerely hope that none of you need to access these resources, but our reality is that some of you may.  Thank you for your continued efforts to work with us as we navigate through this pandemic.

Respectfully, Chris Fritsch