Bend-La Pine Schools’ altered schedule is a direct response to the number of students missing out on class to quarantine.
Just two days after returning to in-person instruction, Michelle Mattingly’s son was told to quarantine for 10 days after a close COVID contact at school.
Soon after, her daughter also had to do the same.
“They were excited to finally be back all in,” Mattingly said. “The other part for me is like well what if it happens again this week? I mean we have no idea, it’s not like we can guess when they might have an exposure.”
Mattingly says the most frustrating part was the lack of instruction her children received during those 10 days.
No class, just online assignments.
“Like with the hybrid at least he had some social connection,” Mattingly said. “But he had nothing for those ten days and same was true for many of his classmates.”
Janet Ainardi’s 8th grade daughter also had to quarantine, even after two negative COVID tests.
Like Mattingly, Ainardi was not impressed by the lack of instruction provided by High Desert Middle School.
“She’s a kinetic learner, she has to see, she has to ask, she has to be available, she has to see it all, touch it all,” Ainardi said. “I just don’t understand why they didn’t provide at least some online presence in the classroom when we have the technology.”
Around 700 Bend-La Pine students have had to quarantine due to rising COVID cases and contacts across the district.
The situation has forced the school district to alter middle and high school schedules.
Starting Monday, most high schoolers will be released early at 1:35 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Most middle schoolers will stay home all day Wednesday for distance learning.
“I’m just a huge proponent for these kids being back in school,” Mattingly said.
The goal is to give teachers a chance to work with students struggling during or post-quarantine.
Mattingly doesn’t believe this is the right option, neither does Ainardi.
“I feel it is unproductive,” Ainardi said. “Now you’re cutting into other students’ time as well, and that’s not what we’re asking for.”
Ainardi says it’s a step in the right direction, but not the right solution.
“I feel that the district should reconvene,” Ainardi said. “Really have discussions with parents about what our expectations are.”
“That’s tough because they were just getting back finally,” Mattingly said. “It’s not an easy situation.”
Bend-La Pine Schools does not plan on shifting the schedule again.