Superintendent's Update

Safety Metrics, Limited In-Person, Athletics & Vaccinations

February 1, 2021

Big picture
As we recognize and celebrate Black History Month, take time to share the lessons, literature, and resources that highlight the rich history and accomplishments of Black Americans.

Dear Centennial Staff and Families,

We are committed to keeping you informed; this will provide you with detailed and up-to-date information on the latest developments, including those involving state mandates and Oregon’s vaccine rollout. As you know, the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. As stated last month, we will continue with Comprehensive Distance Learning, while exploring limited in-person opportunities for some students, with a focus on providing support for struggling learners.

This message includes sections on: • Current public health metrics and guidelines • Health and safety measures • Vaccination plan for educators and school staff • Limited In-Person Instruction • Athletics • and Next Steps

Changes to Advisory School Health and Safety Metrics

As you may know, the State has changed the advisory school health and safety metrics. Under previous health metrics, positive COVID-19 cases had to drop below 100 per 100,000 residents to begin in-person instruction. The new advisory metrics based on Harvard Global Health Institute Guidelines are:
Big picture
The current case count in Multnomah and Clackamas Counties is 293.6, and 308.2, respectively.

What Did Not Change

The State has not changed the safety protocols and procedures that must be followed during in-person learning.

-The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) did not change the physical distancing requirement. Each student and teacher are required to have a “space bubble” of 35 square feet. This requirement affects room capacity.

-ODE did not change the mandatory cohort requirement. During in-person instruction, a student may not have contact with more than 100 people per week. This requirement significantly restricts how we design school schedules, in particular at the middle and high school levels.

Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI)

Given the factors listed above, the school district shared with the school board that we believe beginning with Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI) would be the most feasible way to eventually transition to in-person learning.

If you are not familiar with the term “LIPI”, it is an on-campus model supported by ODE and designed to meet the needs of specific groups of students based on needed educational, relational, social-emotional, curricular, instructional, and/or assessment supports. Participation, including by educators, is on a voluntary basis. Here are a few other LIPI facts:

• LIPI cohorts will consist of no more than 20 students;

• Participating students are limited to two cohorts per week per site;

• All students and educators must observe mask, physical distancing requirements and follow our safety operating procedures;

• Each LIPI session will run for about two hours.

LIPI allows schools to bring into the classroom specific groups of students with identified needs for no more than two hours a day on designated days to supplement comprehensive distance learning. For more details review the ODE’s guidance for Limited In-Person Instruction. On January 27, the Centennial School Board held a work session to discuss the plan for phasing Limited In-Person Instruction into our Comprehensive Distance Learning Model, the plan was also shared for athletics.

Athletics Update

Beginning February 1, Centennial will begin outdoor in-person workouts and conditioning. Centennial athletes will be assigned to a pod of no more than 20 students to begin workouts with a coach. Masks are required for all, and all safety protocols will be followed.

As of December 2020, athletics are no longer tied to the school metrics, they are tied to the county Sector Risk Level Guidance chart listed below. All schools in Multnomah County, including Centennial, are currently in the Extreme Risk Category. Indoor recreation and fitness are prohibited at this time.

Big picture

Vaccination Plan for Staff

COVID-19 vaccines are now being distributed in Oregon. As stated previously, a key aspect of safely reopening classrooms was access to vaccines for educators and school staff. Governor Brown has decided to prioritize this access for educators, given the critical importance of opening schools safely.

A plan is underway to provide school staff in the metro region with the COVID-19 vaccine. Some of our school staff became eligible for the vaccine on January 25.

Depending on the number of vaccine doses made available to health providers in Oregon, it will take a minimum of four weeks before all educators and staff have the opportunity to receive their first round of the vaccine, and are scheduled for their second round. The vaccine is fully effective two weeks after the second dose.

Next steps

We will continue to review the updated guidance from the Oregon Department of Education, as we scale up our plans for beginning LIPI. A planning team will be working on details, identifying eligible students, surveying the identified families, and making sure that our schools have a number of new things including:

• Special signage and floor markings to ensure social distancing

• Hand sanitizer stations

• Sign-in and sign-out protocols

• Plexiglass and other physical barriers

• Reduced number of desks in classrooms to maintain social distancing (required by the State of Oregon to be 35-square feet)

• A dedicated care space for students or staff who show to be symptomatic during the day, and

• Regular cleaning of often-used surfaces

Please understand we are regularly making adjustments to our plan as we learn about changes and are receiving daily updates that shift the state guidance. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience during this unique time.


Dr. Paul E. Coakley

Collaborating in Community - Cultivating Equity - Inspiring Excellence