Easing staff burdens; those returning from five-day quarantine would still be in separate area
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Steven Cook is asking the school board on Tuesday evening to lift some COVID-19 rules that have spread students’ lunch to rooms throughout the buildings and return them in spread-out fashion to cafeterias, relieving some added burdens on staff.
Cook noted that revised guidance from state and federal health officials have shifted the isolation and quarantine period to five days, for students who meet the guidelines, returning on day 6 with a well-fitted mask and restrictions through the 10th day.
While districts move to that policy, it has been a challenge to continue the “resource-demanding lunch plan at every school to cohort students as much as possible and to space them out throughout the school as much as possible to minimize spread of the virus and, subsequently, loss of learning time for students due to possible exclusion,” Cook wrote.
The staff and supervision hours to do so and to meet the conditions of union contracts “have completely tapped our resources,” the superintendent added.
Returning to the use of cafeterias to the maximum extent practical, with students spread out as much as possible, “would free up a tremendous amount of supervision responsibility and a tremendous number of rooms/spaces that are currently being used to cohort student lunch groups,” Cook said.
He also said it would reduce the added duties of custodial staff and teachers to clean up after classrooms after classrooms and the operational challenges of preparing for indoor or outdoor lunches, depending on the outdoor temperatures.
Students returning from quarantine for days 6-10 still would need a supervised, separate lunch space, to be arranged for the unique conditions at each of the district’s 33 schools, and.
Cook said that would align Bend-La Pine Schools with the latest public health guidelines and what other districts are doing “and most importantly could provide some supervision relief to our beleaguered staff.
The school board will discuss the recommendation at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday; the regularly scheduled work session will follow immediately after).
To review the meeting agenda, read the recommendation from Dr. Cook and submit comment, visit: https://bls.fyi/specialmeeting