North Santiam School District
December 10, 2020
Message from the Superintendent
The District has received several questions from parents and community members regarding the fact that more students are returning to school at this time, despite rising case numbers throughout the state and here in Marion County. I hope this letter will answer those questions and provide some understanding about how we are planning to move forward.
The District is currently bringing students into school under the Oregon Dept. of Education’s guidance for Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI). This can occur despite current case counts rising. The Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority have researched this thoroughly. You can review their recommendations here. In short, we believe we can have small groups of students come to school without a spreader event occurring. While the guidance states that LIPI allows school districts to have as many as 20 students in each classroom, we intend presently to only bring approximately five students per classroom each day. Mari-Linn School has slightly larger cohorts, but we are comfortable with those given the low number of cases in their communities. Students must wear masks, their desks are spaced out in the rooms, and this cannot last longer than 2 hours each day. The District is focused on its protocols including cleaning and sanitizing, as well as the screening of students. We believe we can operate with a small number of students in a safe manner.
Following Winter Break, the District will review current conditions in general as well as the success of Limited In-Person Instruction. Should we continue to see that LIPI can be done safely, we will further expand the number of students attending across the District, but will continue to limit the cohorts in each classroom to less students than state guidelines allow. If case counts dictate further openings in the late winter, the District would evaluate further increasing the number of students per classroom cohort. We stress that conditions at the time will drive this thinking.
The District has two nurses, both of whom were trained to be contact-tracers this summer. This has allowed a quick response to reported symptoms or known cases. The nurses will continue to support students, families and staff as we bring students in for LIPI. For more information as to when students should be kept home from school or when they are allowed to return, please click on the COVID-19 Resources/District Info link on any NSSD website. There are also many other helpful links from ODE, OHA and OSAA.
The District is committed to bringing students in for LIPI as long as conditions allow. We know that kids benefit from being in school and relating directly with our staff. At the same time, we know we must create a safe environment. We look forward, as always, to a time in the near future when we can return to normal operations safely.
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More than ever, we need to work TOGETHER
Students from Stayton and Regis High Schools are combining forces this year for a Holiday SHARE event! Please take a moment to watch the video they made together explaining how it works.
If you would like to help families in need, you can shop online on Amazon and have items sent directly to Stayton High School. You can also shop locally and drop items at Regis High School between 8am-3pm. Please arrange for items to arrive at either location by December 16, 2020. The wish list is available at this link