BLP-Schools preparing for closure beyond April 1st; will expand meal program through Spring Break

Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Shay Mikalson on Tuesday told families the district is preparing to stay closed beyond April 1st and is ready to implement a ‘Continuation of Learning’ plan to connect students with teachers and staff from home.

Gov. Kate Brown ordered the state’s nearly 600,000 K-12 students to stay home this week through March 31st to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“That said, with this situation continuing to evolve and change by the day, and with her new executive order reducing the size of gatherings to no more than 25, we anticipate to receive new school guidance from the Governor within the next 24 hours that may extend our school closure beyond April 1,” Mikalson said in a letter to families.

Less than an hour after sending his email, Brown ordered all schools to remain closed until April 28th.

Mikalson said the district would launch its ‘Continuation of Learning” plan as soon as April 1st, although no specifics were given about that plan.

Additionally, the district announced it will extend the grab-and-go meal program currently offered at five schools by providing free meals to students over Spring Break next week at Bend High and La Pine High. The grab-and-go meal program will resume at all five school sties on March 30th.

You can read Mikalson’s full letter below:

Greetings Families,

I am deeply moved by your incredible support and patience as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 situation in Oregon. We are listening closely to our health partners and guidance from the Governor as we plan each step forward. The safety of our students, staff and community continues to be a primary focus for our teams.

As promised, I will continue to share updates.

Governor Announces New Social Distancing Order
Yesterday, March 16, Governor Kate Brown released a new executive order with guidelines for social distancing that prohibits all gatherings of more than 25 people and restricts restaurants and bars to offering only take-out and delivery service for at least the next four weeks. The restriction began today in Oregon.

The Governor further suggested that individuals avoid any gathering with 10 or more individuals and urged all businesses to accommodate social distancing or consider closing.

Governor’s School Closure
The Governor’s statewide school closure remains in effect through March 31. That said, with this situation continuing to evolve and change by the day, and with her new executive order reducing the size of gatherings to no more than 25, we anticipate to receive new school guidance from the Governor within the next 24 hours that may extend our school closure beyond April 1.

Continuation of Learning Plan
While at this point in time the current school closure policy from the Governor remains in effect, given our anticipation of a potential extension, we want you to know that if an extended closure is mandated statewide:

  • We are ready to implement a Continuation of Learning plan starting as soon as April 1;
  • The plan will include a variety of strategies so that our students can continue learning and connect with their teachers and school staff;
  • We will continue to rely on the guidance of Oregon public health authorities, the Department of Education, and the Office of the Governor.

Extending Grab and Go Meals
Thanks to the success of the ‘Grab and Go’ meal program that kicked off at five schools yesterday, we plan to extend free meals to students over Spring Break, March 23-27. These meals will be available at Bend Senior High School and La Pine High School. Grab and Go meals service will resume at all five school sites on Monday, March 30.

Stay Connected
Finally, you can find information about coronavirus COVID-19, resources and links to public health agencies by visiting www.bend.k12.or.us/covid-19.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this challenging time.  As always, we will continue to keep you as updated as possible with information and resources as they become available.

Best,

Shay Mikalson,
Superintendent

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