▶️ RSD begins working on plans for in-person return; OHA help needed first

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By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Gov. Kate Brown last week gave an unexpected gift to local school leaders working to get kids back in class.

“It came earlier than we expected,” Redmond Superintendent Dr. Charan Cline said of Brown’s call for students to return to class by February 15th. “We expected to see something new in the next few weeks, but when it came out the day before Christmas Eve we were a little surprised.”

Brown said she wanted to make now mandatory health metrics “advisory” in the new year, and give school districts the authority to decide whether it’s safe in a community to bring kids back to in person instruction.

Bend-La Pine Schools interim superintendent Lora Nordquist says the district will “determine specific dates for our phased-in return based on this new information.”

But is mid-February doable?

Cline says for Redmond it depends on the help they get from the Oregon Health Authority.

“The order asks us to work with the Oregon Health Authority to develop on-site rapid testing, to get our teachers vaccinated in an effort to get the schools open,” Cline said. “We’re not yet sure what the local health authority’s capacity is to do on that.”

Cline says at this point he can’t project an exact return date, but younger students will likely be the first to come back.

“Probably 1,600…2,000 students will come in for a couple hours a day, as soon as we’re able to get things restarted we’ll look at doing that,” Cline said. “Probably with K-3 first and then we’ll work our way into the upper grades as time goes on.”

Once a timeline and plan are in place, Redmond Schools will let parents know.

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