By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
This fall looks a little different for 2nd-grader Bryce and 5th-grader McKenna.
The High Lakes Elementary students were hoping to get back to school by now, in-person.
Their father, Matt Vogel, says he thinks distance learning puts them at a disadvantage.
“They really do miss their friends,” Vogel said. “They’ve had a long delay at being able to socially interact with their friends and their teachers, and I think that has a huge impact on their self-esteem, as well as their educational opportunities.”
Bend-La Pine and Redmond students grades K-3 were supposed to return to in-person learning on October 5.
However, a surge of new COVID-19 cases led to metrics that were too high.
“I believe that the state metrics are keeping people safe,” Dr. Charan Cline, Redmond School District superintendent, said. “We want to make sure that both the children, the adults, and the parents are safe, so I’m happy about that. I’m just disappointed the case counts are as high as they are.”
Bend-La Pine’s interim superintendent, Lora Nordquist, says she believes the metrics should be loosened.
“I can get my hair cut, go to a shopping center, go bowling, eat dinner at a restaurant, but I can’t send my child to school,” Nordquist said. “That feels hard to me.”
As a working parent, Vogel says current metrics are doing kids no good.
“The metrics that they have in place now are unrealistic,” Vogel said. “They’re not going to be able to open up, and if they do, they’re going to have to revert back to closing it up. It puts a huge impact emotionally on our kids and working parents out there in the community.”
If all metrics are met, the earliest K-3 students will be able to return to the classroom is October 26.