Hi Irving Families,
We have an important development 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.
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?
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.
It includes new requirements about face coverings, sanitizing, health screening, transportation, and much more.
Hello Irving Families,
I hope your week has gone well. Our staff has been increasing their connection with students through Zoom classroom meetings and phone calls. We have enjoyed seeing students smile and laugh with their friends and teachers this week. This week has been important for our teachers and students to build connection. I know we were all missing that connection with our students. This video is an example of how we feel.
Consistent and clear communication with you is critical in supporting continued learning for our students. So, each Friday I will provide information for the week to come. In addition, the district is hosting K-5 parent information sessions about Zoom and Google Classroom, two important online platforms used in Distance Learning (see details below). Meanwhile, please don’t hesitate to contact your teacher or me if you have any questions.
Tips for Parents – Learning At Home
–Approach learning from home with patience and kindness
–Establish a comfortable routine and location where your child can focus on learning
–Set up a schedule and learning pace that works best for your child
–Consider yourself a learning partner and facilitator, rather than a classroom teacher
–Reach out to us through email or phone; we are all learning this process together
Learning Schedule for the Week
–5-day Teacher-Created Activities are structured, grade level learning, complimented by Zoom Classroom
sessions, Dojo communication, or phone calls. Your child’s Teacher-Created activities will be available on the Bethel website Monday, and I will also email the link to you on Monday morning.
—10-day Supplementary Activities may be connected to teacher-created materials and are led by the student or family.
Every day of the week, do your best to work on one day of work in the Teacher-Created Activities. When you are finished, there is the option of working on a day of activities from the Supplemental Activities (online only). Additionally, twice a week, your teacher will hold Zoom Classroom Sessions or connect with you by phone.
News & Reminders
Meals: Bethel continues to serve free meals for children 18 and under. Click here for the times and locations.
Counseling Services: Available for students at the Bethel Health Center. Call 541-607-1430 for an appointment.
Parent Zoom and Google Classroom Information Sessions: Tuesday, April 21st- (2 Options):
Chromebooks: Here is the Student Help Desk page if you need Chromebook support.
Stay well, and watch for my email with a link to the 5–day teacher-created activities on Monday morning.
Yesterday afternoon we learned our students will not return to school campuses this school year, while plans around graduation requirements for seniors have also been announced.
An executive order from Gov. Kate Brown extended the closure of school buildings through June 12th in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe and healthy. While campuses are closed, education continues. Bethel schools will continue on the same pathway of Distance Learning for All that our staff has been preparing to deliver to all students.
This year has also significantly changed for our seniors. Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education, has announced a plan around graduation requirements. Click here for the full ODE plan. We are still digging into the new guidance, and will be reaching out to each of our high school seniors and their families soon with more information. Look for communication soon from Willamette and Kalapuya principals.
The school closure also means that proms, field trips, graduations, award ceremonies, and simple classroom activities will be missed or experienced differently. We plan to include our high school student leaders in collaborative planning efforts to address these experiences, and will share details as plans are developed.
During these unprecedented times, I want to say thank you for the kindness and patience you show to one another. We will need continued patience, resilience, kindness and strength as we move through these next few months.
Please remember that we care deeply about the well-being of each and every Bethel student. There is no road map for the trip we are on, but we will take this ride together.
Bethel teachers and administrators have worked hard (without being able to meet in person) to create meaningful supplemental learning materials for all Bethel students.
The supplemental material is now being mailed to the homes of all elementary and middle grade students, providing 5 days of instruction.
This week, teachers will pivot to planning distance learning as directed by the Oregon Department of Education. More details on Distance Learning will be coming later this week.
Meanwhile, teachers will also be calling families again, confirming who is in need of the limited number of district-provided Chromebooks.
We hope to you all well and are able to access Bethel’s Supplemental Resources Page.
Also, be on the lookout for another Irving Staff Video for students tomorrow!