▶️ BLP schools, students make final preparations for Monday return to class

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By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Kindergarten through 3rd-grade students return to in person classes next week in Bend-La Pine Schools.

This week those students spent a day in their schools orienting to new operating and safety protocols.

We spoke with one principal about how preparations for Monday are going.

“At Bend-La Pine Schools we are excited to welcome students back into classrooms,” according to a video posted on Bend-La Pine Schools’ social media platforms.

Since early September, Bend-La Pine teachers, office staff, custodians, and nutrition service workers have been preparing for when students would return.

For Kindergarten through 3rd-grade students, that day is Monday.

“As students arrive by bus, car, foot, or bike, they will follow new protocols and safety practices.”

This week, K-3 students spent a day in school learning about precautions they must take to resume in-person instruction during the pandemic.

Lava Ridge Elementary Principal Gary DeFrang says orientation has gone well.

“Kids are quick to learn. We have a wonderful teaching staff here who have right away helped them understand the importance of wearing masks, social distancing,” said Gary DeFrang, Principal at Lava Ridge Elementary. “Things have gone really well. The spirit and the energy of the kids have been fantastic and it’s wonderful to have them back in school.”

As students arrive, staff will direct them where to go, either heading to class through the main entrance or straight to their classroom through exterior doors.

A staff member will greet students and do visual checks for wellness.

Remember to keep students home who are ill or have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher/chills
  • Coughing or shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Visitors and volunteers may not enter school buildings at this time. Families who make prior arrangements may enter the main office.

Some school times have been adjusted to accommodate transportation requirements. Check with your school to find out if it has adjusted its start and dismissal times.

Once inside, students and staff will follow arrows to keep distanced as they walk the halls.

Every classroom has been measured and desks have been placed to ensure physical distancing between students.

Sharing of materials is discouraged.

“We have increased cleaning throughout the day and are instituting deep cleaning at the end of each day for all high touch surfaces. Additionally, maintenance teams have worked to increase ventilation throughout school buildings. School HVAC system bring in fresh air an hour before school starts and throughout the day. Classroom air is filtered through medical-grade MERV – 13 filters 6 to 7 times hourly.”

Meals continue at school. Students can receive free breakfast and lunch every day or can bring their food to school.

Students will eat outside whenever the weather permits.

Each school has a plan for eating. In some schools, students will eat on a rotating schedule in the cafeteria. In other schools, students will eat in the classroom.

Water fountains have been turned off, but students can refill their water bottles at filling stations.

Students will continue to enjoy outdoor recess and play time throughout the day. Students will stay in their cohort groups and the playground areas will be split into zones.

“Starting Monday, all K-3 students will be here 5 days a week for full schools,” DeFrang said. “Next week then starts an orientation for our 4th and 5th graders where they’ll come back to school one of four days.”

4th and 5th graders return to full-time instruction on Feb. 1st in a hybrid learning arrangement of 2 days in-person and 3 days remote.

6th through 12 graders will also learn through a hybrid model… returning full-time Feb 8th.

“Masks will be worn indoors and out. Families are encouraged to practice wearing masks at home so students feel comfortable and confident wearing them throughout the day.”

Principal Defang says most Lava Ridge students plan to resume in-person instruction.

Some are opting for Comprehensive Distance Learning but he doesn’t know how many.

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