Lane County has released its updated COVID-19 case rates, and they are still too high to meet the standards for a return to in-person learning.
However, our COVID rates have improved, and the lower the numbers the better our chances of reopening schools to at least some in-person instruction.
Last Friday, the state instituted new and more relaxed county COVID-19 metrics that must be met for schools to bring students back into buildings, emphasizing the elementary grades. Here are the latest Lane County COVID results as they relate to the new standards.
Survey: Later this week, K-3 families will receive a very important survey to let us know whether their child will return to Hybrid Instruction (in school 2-days a week) when we are able, or whether they will choose to remain in Distance Learning even when students are welcomed back to the classroom. The survey will also have a question about Transportation. We are seeking this information initially from K-3 families because the new metrics emphasize in-person learning for our youngest students first.
Staffing: The results of the survey will help us determine our staffing levels for both in-person and Distance Learning. The sooner we have that information, the more prepared we will be for K-3 students’ return to school.
Preparation: Our buildings look a little different inside, with some plexiglass screens in place, signage going up, and fewer student desks in each classroom due to social distancing requirements. While the new state standards mean we are a bit closer to reopening our schools, many teachers have been working remotely and must learn the new health and safety protocols in the building, be prepared to pivot from Distance Learning to Hybrid Instruction, and prepare their classrooms.
Timeline: It is clear that many families are excited about the possibility of a return to some in-person learning. It is also clear that safely transitioning to in-person learning is a high priority. We will prepare for Hybrid Instruction while continuing to monitor the Lane County COVID numbers. Families should understand that the transition to in-school learning in Bethel will not be immediate, but we are determined to make sure it will be safe.