If trends continue, according to the Benton Franklin Health District, students could be back in school this fall. Information was released Thursday (8-13).

While saying cases still need to continue to fall, data shows new cases in the county have decreased by over 50% since the beginning of July, about six weeks ago.

BFHD officials say they won't be back September 1st, but if mask and social distancing continues to be practiced at the rates being seen now, students will be back in school this fall; provided cases keep declining.

The criteria needed, the District said Thursday during a press conference, is to have 75 or fewer new cases for every 100,000 of population for a 14 day period. For Benton Franklin Counties, going off of population data from 2019 of about 307,000, that would mean no more than 215 or so for two weeks.

If that occurs at least partial return to some in class education would begin.

That number would have to fall to 25 for every 100K (or 75 for 14 days) for a full 'normal' return to class. Both of those are according to stipulations set by the Washington State Department of Health.

Statewide, officials said, data shows rates are dropping. BFHD officials say they 'fear' Labor Day Holiday and it's associated activities, that could result in spikes.

As of now, all B-F County area schools are beginning online.  No timetable was given for when these partial or full return to classes would occur.