School workers who are parents also have challenges
(Update: adding video, comments by teacher)
BEND, Ore., (KTVZ)-- After Gov. Kate Brown released new COVID-19 metrics on Tuesday, Bend-La Pine Schools officials said students likely will not return to the classroom in the fall. Some parents say that's the best approach for their children, but others are struggling to determine what to do amid work schedules and other issues.
With most of the state not meeting the current metrics for cases and infection rates, Bend- La Pine Schools said if students are unable to return to the classrooms in the fall, they will move toward comprehensive social distanced learning for all students, though they might incorporate in-person learning options for students in kindergarten through third grade, where the state is listing some exceptions.
Charlene Adkins has two children, a 6-year-old who just finished kindergarten at Ensworth Elementary School in Bend and a 3-year-old who she enrolled in a NeighborImpact Head Start program this week.
Adkins co-parents with her son's father, and she said they plan to split the social distanced learning between their two homes.
"It could absolutely work out for the best for my family," Adkins said. "I am going to miss out on having them in school, both of them, and that socialization. I think they are really going to miss out, but it is what it is.
Adkins said health-wise, it's the best possible outcome for not only students, but teachers as well.
Another Bend mother of two, Kelsey Spandauvr, said she plans to home-school her kids in the future. In addition to her concerns about young children being required to wear masks, she said she wouldn't let her kids return in to the classroom.
"Not because I am afraid of them getting sick," Spandauvr said. "But because I don't want them to go to school with all of those restrictions -- having to eat inside, not being able to play with their friends, having to wear a mask. I'll teach them at home."
The Redmond School District announced Tuesday they're working to interpret the new metrics and understand how these guidelines will affect reopening this fall. They are asking parents to stay tuned for their fall updates.
Emy Koike, who teaches at Sky View Middle School, said she understands that remote learning puts a burden on other parents who are not working at home, and want their students to return to the classroom. She said teachers have been a bit overwhelmed, not only figuring out how to teach students but also trying to help their parents as well.
Many teachers also have students who will be at home now, unless the metrics can be met and in-person classes resume.
"Some of our staff members are high-risk members, or they are taking care of high-risk individuals in their family. Not only that, they might be parents too," Koike said. "So they're having to play multiple roles all at once, on top of an already busy lifestyle."
Some parents say they can't afford to stay home from work and home-school their children, and worry that children need to be social and around their friends.
More details of the state metrics for schools to reopen safely can be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Emerging%20Respitory%20Infections/Ready-Schools-Safe-Learners-Community-COVID-19-Metrics.pdf