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Schools Return To In Person Learning 4-Days A Week

A message from Superintendent Karen Gray

Dear Lincoln County School District Staff, Students, Families, and Community, I hope this communication finds everyone healthy and well. On Monday, March 22, 2021, Governor Brown and the Oregon Department of Education sent the following update to the Ready Schools, Safe Learner Guidance that all K-12 school districts must follow:

Key updates to Ready Schools, Safe Learners include:

  • Elementary schools must maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students to the maximum extent possible.

  • Middle and High schools must maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students to the maximum extent possible when the county case rate is <200 (green level on the metrics chart in Section 0).

  • Middle and High schools must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between students to the maximum extent possible when the county case rate is ≥200 (yellow and red levels on the metrics chart in Section 0).

  • All schools must maintain 6 feet between staff at all times and 6 feet between staff and students to the maximum extent possible.

  • Removal of the 35 sq ft per person requirement and other physical distancing changes are documented in the RSSL guidance.

  • Research Informing Changes in K-12 COVID-19 Guidance

Our school district is in the <200 green level. While our county covid rates have sadly increased, putting us into the Moderate level and close to the High level, according to the Oregon Department of Education requirements, LCSD is well within the green level of <200, which allows us to have students K-12 three feet apart. Also, the 35 square foot rule has been removed.

This is a HUGE change for LCSD, allowing us to have our students back four days per week full time. To be clear, that would mean that we will be moving from hybrid two days a week in school and three days a week out of school to 4 days per week in school full time with only Wednesdays asynchronous. Once a district has gone back to full-time school, even if the numbers increase, the school/district follows the safety protocols and continues to have school full time, so no going back (unless it becomes impossible to know that you can keep kids and staff safe).

The date for this amazing change is Monday, April 19, for all students K-12. This gives our staff two weeks required notice to prepare and for us to get transportation ready. We will do everything in our power to make sure that everything is in place carefully and safely to make sure that this transition happens smoothly. The district has been and will be discussing this change with its Associations. This comes 13 months, almost to the day that we stopped having full-time school on March 13, 2020.

It is time to get kids back in school. The 9-12 high school students will still come back on April 12 hybrid so that they can get used to being back in school and practice all of our established safety and health protocols. Then they move to full-time. Schools are NOT where covid spreads. If and when someone gets a positive covid diagnosis at school, we immediately jump to our protocols and quarantine those that must be quarantined. Staff with two shots of vaccine do not quarantine with a positive case in their classroom.

All safety protocols will be followed, including wearing a mask at all times except when eating (eating is still 6 feet distance), washing hands, using sanitizer, staying home when ill, and being visually checked before entering the school. Edmentum and CDL for those that want it continues until the end of the current school year. Please contact your principals with questions. Transportation will be set up and scheduled, and all meals continue, including the regular curbside pick-up.

I cannot express how much I appreciate how hard this school year has been on students, parents, community, and staff. I believe that we have learned valuable lessons about education, communication, grace, and kindness throughout everything. We have learned more about safety and health protocols than I think we ever wanted to, but it has taught us a great deal. We have known how to be nimble and accommodating. I hope that you feel that we have done our absolute best throughout an impossible situation. The district has advertised public online forums in April and May designed to listen to you share with us what education practices worked for you and your children so that we can grow and learn for next year.

Thank you very much,

Karen Gray, Superintendent

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