Some state COVID-19 requirements have been relaxed, bringing Oregon closer to the standards recommended by the CDC and more in line with the requirements set by most states. This means possibly allowing students to return to in-school instruction sooner. Currently, Lane County’s COVID-19 case rate is still too high for us to welcome students back to school.
Here is a brief summary of the changes announced by Governor Kate Brown. They take effect immediately.
Parent Survey: Watch for a parent survey coming your way in this blog next week. We will need to know your updated decision on two subjects: 1) Will your child be returning to school for Hybrid instruction, or will your child remain solely in Distance Learning even when we reopen? This information will allow us to properly staff our buildings and prepare each classroom. 2) Can you transport your child to school? Due to social distancing, the space on our school buses will be limited.
Safety: Before we welcome students back to the school building, our staff has to be trained on the required health and safety protocols in our school. While COVID-19 can be mitigated in schools, we cannot completely eliminate the risk of exposure. That’s why we must be ready to implement the public health protocols in order to incrementally increase access for in-person instruction.
Staff Preparation: The relaxed standards mean we are closer to reopening our schools (particularly for K-5 students), but transitioning to in-person instruction safely is a high priority. While learning the new health and safety protocols in the building, teachers will also have to pivot from Distance Learning to Hybrid Instruction, prepare their classrooms, and more. In addition, elementary school grades will be serving both Hybrid (partial in-person) and Comprehensive Distance Learning environments. This is another reason the shift to in-person learning cannot and should not be rushed.
When We’ll Reopen: We do not yet have a set date for the gradual reopening of schools for Hybrid instruction (In-person 2 days a week) but elementary grades are emphasized in the updated guidance from the state. You will be receiving updates from us when Lane County’s numbers improve and we get closer to that possibility. It is important to remember that the COVID numbers in Lane County will initially determine our planning and timelines. The lower the numbers, the closer we get to reopening.
Communication: There are sure to be many questions and will address them to the best of our ability, knowing we won’t have all the answers. However, we are committed to be in regular communication with you as we move forward, sharing any news relevant to students coming back to school.
If we follow the protocols and carefully work through the challenges, we will be able to bring students and staff back safely and successfully. On Monday afternoon when the latest COVID numbers are released, we will send an update on how Lane County compares with the new metrics now in place.