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Parent Communication: Metric Changes
Mike Harklerode
Friday, October 30, 2020

PARENT Communication: State Changes School Reopening Metrics

Some state requirements have been relaxed, bringing Oregon closer to the standards recommended by the CDC and more in line with the requirements set by most states. This means possibly allowing students to return to in-school instruction sooner. Currently, Lane County’s COVID-19 case rate is still too high for us to welcome students back to school.

Here are the changes announced by Governor Kate Brown. They take effect immediately.

To adjust to these changes, the Siuslaw School District will have a lot to consider:

Parent Survey: As plans come into focus, parents will receive a survey about their needs in a new learning format. That survey will be sent at least two weeks prior to the start of any on-site instruction.

Safety: Before schools welcome students back to the school building, our staff has to be trained on the required, updated health and safety protocols. While COVID-19 can be mitigated in schools, we cannot completely eliminate the risk of exposure. That’s why we must be ready to implement the public health protocols in order to incrementally increase access for in-person instruction. There may be a need to modify school schedules to allow for implementation of new safety measures.

Staff Preparation: The relaxed standards mean we are closer to reopening our schools (particularly for K-5 students), but transitioning to in-person instruction safely is a high priority. While learning the new health and safety protocols in the building, teachers will also have to pivot from Distance Learning to in-person instruction, prepare their classrooms, and more. In addition, elementary school grades will be serving both in-person and Comprehensive Distance Learning environments. This is another reason the shift to in-person learning cannot and should not be rushed.

When School will Reopen: The schools do not yet have a set date for the gradual reopening of schools for in-person instruction but elementary grades are emphasized in the updated guidance from the state. You will be receiving updates from us when Lane County’s numbers improve and we get closer to that possibility. It is important to remember that the COVID numbers in Lane County will initially determine our planning and timelines. The lower the numbers, the closer we get to reopening. 

Communication: There are sure to be many questions and will address them to the best of our ability, knowing we won’t have all the answers. However, we are committed to be in regular communication with you as the process moves forward, sharing any news relevant to students coming back to school.

If we follow the protocols and carefully work through the challenges we will be able to bring students and staff back safely and successfully. On Monday afternoon when the latest COVID numbers are released, we will send an update on how Lane County compares with the new metrics now in place.