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As Bend La-Pine Schools eye in-person return, parents, teachers are divided

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- According to Bend La-Pine Schools' return to in-person instruction plan, students could make their way back to the classrooms by Jan. 25th for kindergarten through third grade, with middle and high school to follow.

During Tuesday night's Bend La-Pine School Board meeting, board members read aloud public comments, with some parents expressing a desire for returning to class.

"If we have safety protocols in place, we should be letting these kids back in the classrooms," one parent said. "There has been success around the country with these protocols. It appears that there are options for everyone."

Despite the excitement from many parents for their children to return, others feel differently.

"I asked my 13-year-old why he liked comprehensive distanced learning more than in-person," another parent said. "His answer was, 'I don't get called the 'n-word' at school any more.' Imagine that."

And with Deschutes County still considered 'extreme risk' for COVID-19 by the Oregon Health Authority, teachers also voiced their uneasiness with coming back.

"No one wants to be back in the classroom more than us," a letter from 47 Summit High School teacher and staff said. "But we want to do so safely and responsibly."

That apprehension could change as Gov. Kate Brown announced educators could begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines as early as Jan. 23, pending deliveries from the federal government.

The school board said it recognizes that parents may also be concerned with post-holiday COVID-19 case spikes and could ultimately continue to learn at home.

Bend / Central Oregon / Coronavirus / Deschutes County / News / Top Stories
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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



  1. “His answer was, ‘I don’t get called the ‘n-word’ at school any more.’ Imagine that.”

    You can not be serious publishing this?
    Grown ups are trying to have an honest discussion about the risk to benefit ratio of education and safety and we are expected to be swayed by the preposterous comment that may or may not have come from a parent who may or may not have nefarious motives for claiming this.
    Even if this is the case the worst thing to do is to coddle this child at home to protect him or her from hurt feelings.
    I thought we where supposed to follow the science, guess not.

    1. To answer gaslight, unfortunately it’s not about sticks an stones. Generations have over developed/ over thought, and twisted a simple saying that even a 2yr old could understand and made it a politicalization nation.

    2. That’s right! Really ktvz! You all want know who is dividing this country more then the politicians it’s the Media! Ktvz should be ashamed and embarrassed! This reporter should be disciplined for this garbage!

        1. How exactly do you know that was a parent’s statement? It was a “Public” comment. The reader of that comment never indicated it was made by a parent!

            1. Of course the words make that clear, but rather than face the obvious, some on the right want to debate how many angels can dance on the head of pin, desperately hoping that will somehow negate reality. On this thread, we see the Right’s own version of “Cancel Culture” at work.

              1. What are you talking about BOBBY? All I was saying is out all parents statements the media picks this one that has nothing to do with the article. They are the ones that are dividing this country! Look how testy ole barney gets when common sense people call out KTVZ! GEESH

    3. That’s pretty much the leftist mantra….make policies based on people’s feelings and also say it’s “science” by only looking at one small aspect of the issue instead of all the data put together or the larger picture.

  2. Teachers who don’t want to teach in person don’t have to. I am sure there are enough subs out there who are willing to teach in person until the others want to.

    1. It really didn’t sound that way in the meeting. About 70 percent of the teachers responded to a survey, and about 70% of those respondents said that didn’t want to return to in-person teaching. The administrators acknowledged that it’s hard to get enough subs even in a regular winter.

  3. “His answer was, ‘I don’t get called the ‘n-word’ at school any more.’ Imagine that.”

    How is this got anything to do with the story? Another shameful piece of race baiting from the news leader.

      1. It’s stupid baiting. It has nothing to do with the actual context of the story. The article is about returning to school due to Covid concerns. It’s no more relevant than someone saying there kid is allergic to peanuts so school is scary.

        1. Gee whiz, poor kid, rather than be appalled that he faces racism when he’s at school, all you righties can do is claim it isn’t relevant to the story. “Kancel Kulture” at work.

      2. Precisely, and that reason has nothing to do with science or data or education or anything at all.
        Its just an attempt to push the critical race theory narrative even more.
        This is activism not journalism.

          1. No, not at all. It is journalism when it is not motivated by ideologically driven narrative. Otherwise it is thinly veiled activism.
            I will change my mind if you can explain how this comment has anything at all to do with the science or data on the actual subject.
            In fact, of all the things said in that meeting this was probably the least relevant.
            If this where a journalism class assignment the student would get a D-.

            1. It’s for one family an unintended positive consequence of at-home learning. So seems right on “the actual subject” to me.
              Relevance is in the eyes of the beholder I presume. If you would nearly flunk a reporter for one line in the middle of the story, I leave it to others who is practicing activism.

  4. I think teachers are enjoying this setting. I am friends with a few teachers and administrators on Facebook, they seem to be enjoying mid week trips to the Mt. Bachelor, hikes and many other outdoor activities. Looking at the curriculum my children are engaged with (grade school), seems as if Google Classroom could be a future replacement of teachers at this point.

    1. Remote teaching from Moab, UT, Leavenworth, WA and even Cabo San Lucas has been a real plus to make sure they are not too stressed out. I know they work hard, so I’m glad they can get a nice break from teaching in person in the classroom.

      #vanlife is a thing for teachers. With cell service, they can do their great work from anywhere.

  5. After spending nearly a year fighting this pandemic and making personal and civic sacrafices it appears reasonable to postpone in-person instruction until teachers have had an opportunity to receive the vaccine. This is more important for the larger school districts where teachers and staff will be in contact with hundreds of students each day.

    I’m perplexed by decisions to return to in-person instruction when our pandemic case numbers are trending higher. I think we would want to avoid situations similar to NYC where in-person instruction would start and then be cancelled two weeks latter when case numbers for students, staff and teachers increased dramatically. Be patient and reopen schools for in-person instruction when you know the schools can stay open because risks of contagion have decreased.

    1. If you are perplexed, then I would encourage you to watch the meeting recording on YouTube here:

      The Superintendent lays out the case for returning to in-person.

      She discusses the pros/ cons. There are many pros and many cons, but at the end of the day they had to make a decision.

      I personally agree with the decision. You may disagree, but the decision has been made.

    2. So in your world the teacher at Burns High who has contact with hundreds of people per day doesn’t get the same respect as a teacher in Bend as the BLP district is larger and more important. I’ll bet the teachers here in Bend are smarter too. Also going back three weeks cases in central Oregon are trending down.

  6. Come on KTVZ, this is not good reporting. A parent can say whatever they want 2nd-3rd hand and you report it as fact because why? I am a parent of a kid that was physically bullied in middle school and it continued in high school. We dealt with it the correct way and let the school process play out. That plays no part in me deciding if my kid is safe to return to school because of the virus or safety protocols. Two completely separate issues

    Parents/Teachers worried about going back because of covid is the issue. This article is more divisive than the actual truth is.

    terrible job on this one KTVZ

      1. You know what would have been worth including? Data and facts about the situation, but that’s the hard work of journalism.
        Let me guess the author: Woke journalist/ activist, hyper PC, super woke, extra woke, under 30, hired for their wokeness, fond of critical race theory despite the fact that all critical thinking people can see through it.
        Barney you seem like a thinking person, really I mean it, just admit that victimhood narratives outweighed journalism on this one.

        1. Nope. We’ve reported PLENTY of data and facts – if you’re referring to COVID locally. If you’re referring to racist comments to students in local schools, perhaps not. Depends on how many such incidents are reported and what’s made public.
          But categorizing people isn’t my business. It’s pretty unfair.

  7. Lost in all of this is that the parents have a CHOICE. Go back to school or stay home and learn. Don’t cry because others are not afraid to go back.

    Oh and by the way the teachers ALSO have the choice. They can opt out for the rest of the year and not lose their jobs. How many workers have that option?

      1. You are correct. Note that Canada as a Country has fewer confirmed cases than the State of Ohio and a higher rate of compliance with their covid-related health guidelines. I would suspect they are simply doing a better job of managing their response to the pandemic. I look forward to being able to visit Canada again when they decide it is safe to open their borders to Americans.

    1. That’s fine, but under the current rules and conditions, there are specific requirements for what the schools need to offer to students who choose not to return to in-person school. The district has not yet explained anything about that option, even though it is asking parents to make a choice now.

  8. For those that think the teachers aren’t working at home, you obviously don’t know a teacher. They spend over 12 hrs a day planning, answering parent questions, running webx meetings, and class meetings.
    Unless you have done someone’s job you really shouldn’t voice an uneducated comment.
    The school district just want there federal money that they are losing not serving lunch to students.

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