North Santiam School District
November 4, 2020
Message from the Superintendent - Small Group Instruction Plans
This communication is to make you aware of the District’s approach to re-opening our schools to students. We want to emphasize we understand the hardships students and parents are facing during these difficult times. We are fully aware of how important school is to your child’s learning and readily acknowledge that Distance Learning is inherently less effective than having students in our buildings. That said, our primary responsibility must continue to be the safety of students and staff. Even as you read this message, the State of Oregon is seeing new records in the number of cases. The new metrics released by the Governor last week do not allow Marion or Linn County schools to re-open to all students at this time.
However, within these current conditions, we are now able to implement Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI). On November 16, each school will begin with a limited group, and safety procedures will be tested and modified. When able, we will expand the number of students. We anticipate that expansion will occur shortly after the initial start. Each school will open for LIPI separately from other schools and, therefore, Principals will be communicating with their parents about plans, including which students will attend and when. LIPI is restricted to two hours per day and must be in addition to our distance learning. Once you have been notified by your student's school they will be participating in LIPI, please visit the District website to register them for bus service if they need transportation to and/or from school.
We have been asked by parents why the District has not implemented LIPI earlier in the year. Our ability to operate under this format was limited by the health metrics for schools. No school could begin LIPI if a staff member or student had a case of COVID, and following a confirmed case, all students and staff associated with that school were required to wait 14 days in order to resume instruction. Since approximately October 10, the District has traced cases within student and staff populations at all but one school in our District. In addition, health officials have communicated that Stayton and Sublimity communities have seen a rise in cases in October.
The Governor’s release of new health metrics on Friday, Oct. 30 does allow districts more flexibility. However, these changes occur at the same time that we see rapid increases in the rate of COVID cases across the state and here locally. We have seen districts across the state begin to provide in-person school, only to have to shut down due to infections. This underscores the importance of all of our parents, students and community members adhering to guidelines from our health authorities as much as possible. We ask for your cooperation and assistance to help us move forward to bring more students into our schools.
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