By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Some Central Oregon school districts, including Crook County, are working on a plan to have their kindergarten through third-grade students back in the classroom this fall for in-person learning.
“I want them all back in school,” one Crook County parent said. “It would be better all the way around for all of us if we got back to what we consider normal.”
“Kids, they don’t have much risk for getting anything, so I think they should be allowed to go,” another parent said.
“I have concerns about the emotional ramifications of keeping kids isolated and not having much social interaction,” a third said.
“We have some flexibility a little bit when it comes to bringing the little ones back earlier,” Crook County Schools Superintendent Sara Johnson said.
School districts need three straight weeks of good COVID numbers to re-open.
County metrics show 4th through 12th-grade levels don’t meet the guidelines for in-person learning, but Crook County has two weeks in a row of meeting the metric to open for Kindergarten through third grade.
“We anticipated that our metrics last week would disqualify us,” Johnson said. “But in fact we had some pretty positive metrics last week.”
On Monday new numbers will be released, and if the district meets the metrics again, it will begin the process looking to open the classrooms before September 28th.
The original first day of school was supposed to be September 8th.
If students return to the classroom, there will be extensive safety measures put in place.
“Advanced social distancing, minimizing the mixing of cohorts, making sure that people are wearing face coverings,” Johnson said. “When our kids come in, they’ll meet the 35 square foot per person guidelines and our schedules would be staggered.”
The district is not yet near the point of meeting the metric for kids above third grade and plans comprehensive distance learning for those students through at least September 25th.
“I hope that all the cases in Crook County go down, and across the state as well, because that would be extremely helpful for our students in 4th through 12th grades,” Johnson said.