Bethel School District

Eugene, Oregon USA

Board Approves No-Tax-Increase Bond

A Vocational Ed Center at Willamette High School would be home to hands-on learning programs. It is one of the projects addressed in a new Bethel bond measure on the November ballot.

Assured that it will not increase anyone’s tax rate, the Bethel School Board has unanimously approved a bond measure for the November ballot.

The bond was recommended by a large District committee of community members, staff, and architects that spent months studying the facilities and programs in Bethel.

The bond would further address student safety, provide basic repairs to roofs, flooring, ventilation systems, and update textbooks and student computers for in-person and remote learning.

It would build a Vocational Ed Center at Willamette High School to create a modern learning space for hands-on programs like Computer Programming, Construction Design, Healthcare, and Robotics.

And, Cascade Middle School would also be replaced. The oldest school in the District, Cascade was built in 1955 and has numerous structural, mechanical and design issues that were identified in official reports submitted to the state.

In addition, if the $99 million bond passes, Bethel will be granted another $6 million in matching grants from the state.

Bethel’s last bond also did not increase anyone’s tax rate, and was passed by voters in 2012 with a 73% Yes vote.

Bethel Schools To Start With Online Instruction

We have an important update to share about the start of the coming school year.

– Tuesday afternoon the State issued new rules for opening Oregon schools to in-person instruction, requiring a consistently low rate of new COVID cases. Neither Lane County nor the state of Oregon are currently meeting those low rates of new infection.

– Bethel schools are continuing to plan for a return to in-person instruction at some point during the 2020-21 school year.

– The #1 priority remains the health and safety for our students, families, and staff.

Opening Online: It has become clear that we must start the school year with 100% online instruction for all students. We will welcome all students back into our schools as soon as public health conditions allow.

This decision is a disappointment to many students and families who have been anticipating a return to school.  It is also a relief to those who have been hesitant about a return to in-person instruction in the midst of a pandemic.

Here are the new required COVID-19 baseline numbers we need to meet in order for us to open schools for in-person instruction. We were at these rates in May and June, and they are our new community-wide goal:

Lane County metrics– must be met three weeks in a row:

– 10 or fewer positive cases per 100,000 population in the preceding 7 days

– 5% or fewer positive tests in Lane County in the preceding 7 days

–  AND –

State metric must be met three weeks in a row:

– Test positivity rate of 5% or less in the preceding 7 days

K-3 Students: The state is more lenient on the baseline COVID numbers for opening doors for K-3 students. Research shared by Oregon Health Authority has shown that children under 10 get the virus at lower rates, get less sick, and spread the virus less than older students and adults.

So, while there is a possibility we will bring back K-3 students earlier than grades 4-12, all students will start with Bethel Online learning. We will share updates with you as soon as possible.

Bethel Online Learning: While starting this school year remotely is not ideal for many students and families, we have learned from the feedback our Bethel families provided after our emergency distance learning experience this spring. Bethel is committed to offering every child a rigorous online curriculum, five days a week, with daily contact from our dedicated Bethel teachers. We are committed to ensuring that our students continue to have access to the wide variety of classes and experiences available with in-person learning. To learn more about Bethel Online learning, click here.

Our goal remains to bring Bethel students and staff back to school as soon as is safely possible. The lower COVID-19 rates required by the state will become a community-wide goal that we can achieve by being diligent in our own health and safety behaviors.

So, while watching the COVID-19 numbers each day, our work is continuing, in order to provide the best possible education for all Bethel children.
Chris Parra
Bethel Superintendent

Tenemos una actualización importante que compartir sobre el comienzo del próximo año escolar.

– El Martes por la tarde, el Estado emitió nuevas reglas para abrir las escuelas de Oregon a la instrucción en persona, requiriendo una tasa baja de nuevos casos de COVID. Ni el Condado de Lane ni el estado de Oregon están cumpliendo actualmente esas bajas tasas de nuevas infecciones.  Continue reading

Reopening Answers & New State Guidance

What happens if a student or teacher is diagnosed with COVID-19? Can you explain the rules about face coverings? Could Bethel’s proposed instruction models change?

Answers to these questions and more about the reopening of Bethel schools are now available here. The questions are continuing to be gathered by taking this parent survey.

The answers are subject to change due to the seemingly ever-changing nature of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Health Authority, and Governor Brown have released updated guidance for schools.

Read the updated state guidance here.

It includes new requirements about face coverings, sanitizing, health screening, transportation, and much more.

¿Qué sucede si un estudiante o maestro es diagnosticado con COVID-19? ¿Puedes explicar las reglas sobre el uso de mascarillas? Continue reading

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