With tough state metrics to meet, only Crook County appears ready to bring youngest students back in September
(Update: Adding video, Bend-La Pine decision)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend-La Pine School Board voted unanimously on Friday to have a delayed, online start to the school year. Classes will resume on Sept. 14, consistent with many other Oregon schools faced with Gov. Kate Brown's COVID-19 requirements.
During their online meeting, board members were briefed on Deschutes County's latest COVID-19 numbers before voting on how to proceed.
Interim Superintendent Lora Nordquist also confirmed that middle and high school students will receive letter grades this year, after moving to a pass-fail system in the spring.
The district said it will evaluate the situation, based on county COVID-19 numbers, every six weeks, to see if it can resume in-person instruction.
Earlier Friday, Crook County Schools announced much the same call -- though under the state metrics and their exceptions, it appears their kindergarten through third-graders may be able to return to class in September.
On Thursday, Redmond schools announced they will offer only online classes when school starts on Sept. 10 and will announce in mid-October whether on-site learning can resume in early November. Sisters made a similar announcement.
Here's the full statement from Redmond Superintendent Charan Cline, relesed in the wake of Gov. Kate Brown's announcement this week of strict school reopening public health metrics:
Good morning Redmond School District Community,
Earlier this week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced new metrics that determine how and when school districts in Oregon will reopen. These metrics are based on the number of COVID-19 cases and the COVID-19 positivity rate per capita––both on a county and statewide level.
In order for Redmond School District to be able to open for in-person instruction for all grades, the following standards must be met in Deschutes County for three weeks in a row:
- 10 or fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and 5% or less positive tests per week
- In addition, the state must also have a 5% or less positive test rate
For kindergarten through third grade students, the rules are slightly less restrictive. In order for these students to attend, Deschutes County will have to meet the following standards for three weeks in a row:
- 30 or fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents per week
- In addition, the county must also have a 5% or less positive test rate
To help you understand our current metrics, Deschutes County’s weekly case count for the past 3 weeks has been 54.6, 43, and 24.3 per 100,000 residents. And Oregon’s test positivity rate for the past 7 days has been 5.1%. Overall, there has been a 77% increase in new cases over the last seven days in Deschutes County.
With these new requirements from the Governor, it is evident that the Redmond School District will not be allowed to open with students on-site. This is not the news we had hoped to hear. We understand that the unpredictable nature of this pandemic has caused frustration and uncertainty for families, students, educators and our entire community.
Based on these factors all Redmond School District students will begin the 2020-2021 school year online in Comprehensive Distance Learning. We will delay the start of school by two days and will begin the school year on Thursday, September 10th.
We will continue to monitor Deschutes County’s metrics and will announce on October 16th whether or not we can return to on-site learning. If we can return, students could return to in-person or hybrid learning on Monday, November 2nd. We will continually re-evaluate metrics and will communicate our status for reopening every six weeks. We are prioritizing the return for our K-3 students as soon as metrics allow to ensure that our youngest learners receive face-to-face instruction.
Our students’ return to the classroom will depend on our community’s ability to reduce the spread of coronavirus by following recommended health and safety practices. We must all be in this, together.
Our new Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) model will be distinctively different than what was offered in the Spring. Here’s what you can expect in the Comprehensive Distance Learning model:
- Using Canvas Learning Management System, students will log into one single portal for their daily coursework and communication with teachers, providing predictable schedules and routines.
- Redmond School District teachers will teach courses with graded assignments and course grades. Progress will be monitored and feedback provided.
- Redmond School District teachers will use a standards-based comprehensive curriculum by Florida Virtual School, which is specifically designed for online learning. RSD teachers will use this curriculum for both on-site and online learning to ensure consistency when students transition back to the classroom. Teachers also have the ability to customize the curriculum based on their students’ needs.
- Daily instruction from the teacher (live or recorded) will keep students strongly connected to teachers and classmates.
- Students will also have opportunities to get individual support from their teachers as needed.
- Clarity will be provided around attendance and participation.
- Greater family engagement and partnership.
If you are interested in learning more about Canvas, you can watch these helpful videos:
- Canvas parent overview video: https://youtu.be/t-5sWZODhY8
- Canvas overview video: https://youtu.be/7tdrDiVSyLA
The district will also provide services for students on IEPs and those with 504 plans. These individualized supports will be integrated into the Comprehensive Distance Learning model. The Oregon Department of Education will release guidance for Special Education on August 11th, with specific information regarding students on IEPs. Special Education teachers and staff members will reach out to families as we get closer to the beginning of school to provide individualized support.
Families and students who choose to participate in our Full-Time Online as a more permanent or long-term option will use the same Canvas platform and Florida Virtual School curriculum as well. These students will continue learning online regardless of state metrics and the status of in-person instruction. This program is also taught by Redmond School District teachers and uses the same resources, but will be online for the entire school year.
In the weeks ahead you can expect regular updates from the Redmond School District regarding technology and distribution of student devices, class schedules, teacher assignments, student meal distribution and other important information. Please regularly check your email and the district’s website for the most relevant information.
Although this announcement is not what any of us wanted to hear, I hope that it can provide clarity and a plan for students, parents and staff moving forward. This year will be unlike any other school year in history. We know that our students and families will have challenges but we are here to walk this path with you. Your partnership, communication and support are now more than ever, vital to our students’ success.
Charan Cline Ed.D
Dear Sisters Schools Community,
Thank you for your engagement as we build our plan for the coming school year. In the last several weeks, we have had almost 700 parents or guardians respond to our survey. I am also grateful to the teaching staff, as 62 teachers have shared their input via survey. This feedback, in addition to the dialogue and emails with me and our building principals has been incredibly valuable. We want to be deliberate and hear from all stakeholders as we develop our plan for the fall.
Two significant announcements that have come from the state in the last week:
-On July 22nd, the Oregon Department of Education released another revision of Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance. These changes included mask wearing for all students k-12, no cohorts bigger than 100, and more rigorous guidance for Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL).
-On July 28th, Governor Brown announced new state and county health metrics that would have to be met for any on-site or hybrid instruction models to be implemented in K-12 public schools. Upon an initial review of those data, it looks likely that most, if not all schools will reopen under the CDL model.
Given these new metrics, continued discussions with other Superintendents, the Sisters School District will begin planning for a return to school in the CDL model for at least the first 6 weeks of school. CDL will be teacher-planned and led, connected to Sisters School District curriculum scope and sequences and has weekly hourly requirements for student contact.
With what we learned in the spring, the strength of our teaching staff and the new guidelines from ODE, we know that we will be able to deliver an improved version of CDL compared to last spring. We are confident that whatever model of instruction we start the year with, the tradition of a strong school system in partnership with the Sisters community will continue.
We have also identified the need for new ways to connect to our community, especially to welcome the many new families and students to the district and help all students get ready for the new school year.
Keep wearing your masks, washing your hands and physical distancing, so we can continue to mitigate the spread. I will continue to communicate any changes as we plan for school in the fall.
Sisters School District