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Bend-La Pine parents say ‘so far, so good’ for first fall week of online learning

(Update: Adding video, comments from parents)

Distance learning is 'a lot less work' than last year, one parent says

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Another unusual academic year kicked off with families balancing work and helping their children navigate Bend-La Pine Schools’ comprehensive distance learning plan.

One parent, who asked us not to use her name, told NewsChannel 21 Thursday that the first week of online learning seems like a lot less work compared to last spring, when Bend-La Pine first implemented a hybrid, online-learning plan last spring due to COVID-19.

Sharon Sbarra, another Bend parent, agrees.

“It’s definitely been a soft start to the school year, where there’s not too much to do,” Sbarra said.

She said she and her husband are still juggling operating their business, Volcano Veggies, with helping their son, who just began the second grade.

Sbarra said she and her son struggled more with the hybrid, online-learning model last spring.

“We were very busy with work and really didn’t have the time and energy to sit down with our son and help him with schoolwork over the computer,” Sbarra said. “We knew that needed to change.”

She said she has more patience going into the fall semester.

“It’s very challenging, and I have to answer phone calls while I’m in the middle of teaching my son a lesson,” she said. “I feel I’m constantly multi-tasking, so it’s definitely not ideal for anybody.”

Bend-La Pine Schools plan to bring back kindergarten through third grade for a balanced/hybrid model on Monday, October 5, if current COVID-19 metrics hold. 

The model allows students to continue learning from home three days a week, with two days in classrooms for in-person teaching.

But until students can return to classrooms, some parents have had to print their own materials while waiting for schools to send physical workbooks.

Some also are still waiting to receive iPads being offered by the school district.

Sbarra said she wants her son to return to in-person learning, for the social benefits. But she also said she appreciates how hard teachers and the school district are working to keep children’s education a priority.

Central Oregon / Coronavirus / Education / News / Top Stories
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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.



  1. I’ll sum it up. It is a total joke. You ever take wood shop online? High level of math? Have a kid with special needs? We are letting our kids down in the name of politics and it’s disgusting. Crook County, I believe, can open up schools? But, yet majority of those residents shop and work in Bend, you know they are rubbing elbows with you at Costco and Walmart, Safeway, target, etc… Deschutes County 200,000 residents, 12 deaths? 8 of which were in a memory care facility. General population of Bend is very safe. Hospital almost no covid positive patients, throughout the entire “pandemic”. The public is waking up, pulling the blinders off and throwing out their masks. WAKE UP!!! Let the kids go to school, let them play sports, let them be kids.

  2. To add on to previous comment, this is in no way to disrespect the teachers. They have been handcuffed. Lots of respect for trying to jump through the impossible hoops our state government has placed in front of them.

  3. Bend Lapine School District has completley left disabled children out of their plans. I have reviewed everyone made available to me. The assistant to the Superintendent actually had the nerve to recommend I pull my child out of their neighborhood school and enroll in their Online School were there is NO live teacher student interaction and NO peers! I know disabled children are not a priority in our society but schools funding by our tax dollars are supposed to be a place they get the opportunity for equal education access. Not in Bend Oregon!

    1. I know EXACTLY what you mean. They don’t understand or care that some children (such as those with autism) cannot sit down and watch a screen and need 1on1 hand-over-hand guidance for learning and can only be taught in-person as a result and can’t wear a mask due to sensory issues. My child is in the same boat. I’m at least glad to hear they will allow in-person teaching in October….just hope it stays that way. My child goes to Redmond schools district and seem like they are (so far) more accommodating to disabled children, but still have their hands tied behind their backs due to Brown’s orders.

  4. re: hopsital hill girl. I am assuming that is like any public schools trying to do online stuff.. Not limited to Bend Lapine school district.. I just feel you are acting as if they are the only ones.. I guarantee you they are not.. also.. I am really sorry for all the parents going through this. I know a mom of four kids.. her younger daughter was crying for a bit.. having log in issues.. I know a bend lapine staff member..who works in a school.. her daughter as well was having log in issues and had a melt down.

    1. Not my issue…they do not have a plan for hybrid return for disabled children. The other children can return to the building which is great but my daughter is not cleared by her doctors to return and all the live lessons will stop when they go back. So that means she will no longer have any thing but recordings and no peer interactions. Other Oregon districts have included medically fragile / disabled children into the plans they submitted to the state. Bend lapine did not. I have other children who can manage just fine with what they are offering. Again my point is discriminatory action by the school district is unacceptable and every child has a right to an education, even children with disabilities

  5. I feel for the teachers as well..they are simply doing what their bosses tell them to do.. also lastly. I think the state of Oregon is at fault.. if they don’t allow school districts to open then they have to do online only.. it sucks ..also our leftist controlled state is at fault.. I would almost bet if it we had conservative leadership they would tell the State superintendent to allow schools to reopen if the county metrics allow for it. thats just my two cents.

  6. Children who have special needs of any kind are being left to fend for themselves. It is very hard to believe the district isn’t providing additional support for these children. Even districts in California are bringing back those students with masks, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning procedures, so they can get the extra help they need.

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