▶️ Culver schools leader working to get kids in class, despite not meeting health metrics

By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

It’s hard to believe just a few months ago, the empty playgrounds, hallways and classrooms in the Culver School District were full of students.

Culver’s Superintendent Stefanie Garber hopes to see them full again this Fall.

“’Distance Learning’ we should actually call ‘Distance Practicing’,” said Garber. “It definitely worked for a few families, but for the most part they feel inadequate and it’s an unfair position to put them in to be the teachers.”

Since the pandemic began, Culver has had 14 positive cases of COVID-19, putting them over the Department of Education’s requirements to reopen schools.

In a letter sent to families over the weekend, Garber says she’s on a committee made up of other superintendents, commissioners, state reps, state leaders and health authorities working to try and change those requirements to allow students back on campus in September.

They met this Monday afternoon.

“It should be more of a community and school board based decision, not a state-level decision necessarily on county metrics,” said Garber. “So we’re going to start a conversation about what might be possible.”

Garber says that a recent survey showed 89% of Culver parents supported students returning to school.

“I think it’s good for kids to be able to be here and see their friends and teachers and have that social interaction,” Jenny Rake said.

“You gotta have common sense,” said Scott Leeper. “You can’t be just careless but I think the school’s got a pretty good plan in place to address those needs so I’m for it.”

“I’m excited about the idea of her going back,” said Heather Kyle. “I’m worried that she will be so concerned with all the rules and guidelines that her focus will be in left field. However, I’m willing to take that risk to have her back in school.”

“I think school’s really important for the kids to be able to integrate into society, for jobs and to grow,” Devon Bowen said.

Garber says, should on-site learning happen, the district plans to accommodate those families more comfortable with an online or hybrid model.

“If that number that wanted hybrid increased a bit, we’re okay with that, but we want to provide on site for as many families as possible,” said Garber. “It is my hope that we figure out perhaps a different metric that we can use and our district will benefit from that and have students on-site, that’s my hope.”

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