Happy Nurses Day to our own Nurse Teresa and to all of these amazing health professionals who work to keep our students safe and healthy!
In the last several weeks we have had a LOT happening in the District. That, combined with all of the upcoming events, makes it seem like a good time to do a community Q and A from 5:30-6:00 PM on Monday night.
It will be virtual (via zoom). You can log-in at this link: https://fernridge-k12-or-us.zoom.us/j/89837770431
I will give a quick update on Summer School, chromebook check-in, our current hybrid instruction, what school might look like in the Fall, and end of year celebrations that are in the works. Following that 10 minutes or so, there will be approximately 20 minutes to answer any questions folks might have (simply type them in the chat). Please help spread the word.
Here is the link to the community meeting for those that would like to listen again or could not attend live.
Elmira High School was notified today of a student testing positive for COVID-19, yesterday. Thank you to the parent who quickly notified us, as it allows the District to begin our work that needs to be done, usually 4-6 hours before Lane County Public Health is notified by the lab, and has time to reach out to us. The District has been working with Lane County in looking at this case. What has been found is that there were no close contacts at school due to strong COVID protocols, and as a result, LCPH is NOT requiring any student to isolate/quarantine. This is not what is classified as a “school contact.”
Although the student was in class this week, District staff have checked with EHS teachers and all safety protocols were followed. Lane County has directed that if students maintain the 3 feet distance, wear a mask and wash their hands, a classroom or cohort does not need to quarantine. As an extra precaution, although not required, the High School will be notifying the parents who have students in the same classroom via email, so those parents can monitor their student for any symptoms. If you have questions, feel free to email the EHS Principal at email@example.com and he will respond before Monday morning, or call EHS at 541-935-8200.
An additional element of this case is that there were multiple “close contacts” with friends/peers outside of school. To include work, hanging out with friends, meeting at the lake, etc… The family is very cooperative and supportive and is working with Lane County Public Health to get these names, and if your student was a close contact outside of school, either the family of the student, or LCPH will be reaching out to you to discuss the need to quarantine.
The schools have many protocols in place to help protect your student during the school day. However, the school cannot monitor students outside of school. Please help us keep students in school by encouraging them to wear their mask and keep 3 feet apart even when they are out with their friends.
Thanks for continuing to do your best so that we may keep our schools open!
The district is about to begin the process of having students return their Chromebooks (including chargers and hotspots). We are beginning with ALL Kinder-2nd grade students from EES and VES on May 17th (Not OPTIONS students). The rest of the schedule is tentative, however our proposed timeline is below. As each grade level gets fully organized, we will get the information out.
3rd-5th grade: Beginning week of June 1st
6th -8th grade: Beginning week of June 1st
12th grade: June 8th/9th
9th-11th grade: Beginning week of June 15th
OPTIONS: Beginning week of June 15th.
As the flyer above describes, the turn-in for K-2nd grade students will be from 2:00-7:00 PM on May 17th AT VES, and you can reserve your timeslot by signing up here. If your chromebook is damaged, please do not wait until check-in. In addition, please bring your device to the check-in, fully “charged.”
Finally, if you can bring the student device check-in form (click here) filled out when you arrive at your check-in time, it will make things go quicker. The forms will also be available on site.
Congratulations to Dawn Northey! Dawn is the well-deserving May employee of the month for Fern Ridge.
She started with Fern Ridge as an Instructional Assistant in the fall of 2013 before transferring into a secretary position at the middle school. Dawn became the head secretary at Elmira Elementary in August of 2017 where she has been keeping the office organized ever since.
To list all of the wonderful ways that Dawn helps to take care of EES would take many more pages! A few of her daily tasks include answering phones, helping families with in-person and on-line registration, processing all of the registration paperwork, collecting student body fees, tracking classified and licensed substitutes for the building and helping with time sheets, staff schedules, coordinating volunteers, keeping track of all the student transportation updates, and countless other jobs that make EES run as smoothly as possible.
One of the things she likes most about her job are the wonderful people she works with and the families she is able to serve. “I enjoy doing it because I know that families appreciate it…..sometimes it involves searching the internet for a form or a phone number, or setting up transportation for them so they don’t have to make one more call in their busy day. The list goes on, but it brings me great joy to serve them.”
When she is not welcoming families and running the office, Dawn enjoys spending time with her two fantastic girls, Maddie and Mackenzie. Maddie is a senior and Mackenzie is a junior at Elmira High School. She loves being outdoors hiking, exploring, and kayaking down the many wonderful rivers here in Oregon. She also enjoys family game nights (with all you can eat ice cream!) family movies, traveling to new places, reading a good book, and anything chocolate.
A huge thank you to Dawn for all of the countless ways you help our Elmira Elementary students, families, and teachers. Congratulations!
Recently the district was informed about a new program, the FCC’s emergency broadband program for low income families, and wanted to pass along the information to our FRSD families. One of the “qualifiers” for this program is anyone that receives benefits under the free and reduced price school lunch program. Applications open a week from today. Please spread the word to anyone that may be interested.
Benefit (per household):
- Up to a $50/month discount on your broadband service and associated equipment rentals
- Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
- Guidance if more than one household is living at the same address.
Outreach toolkit, includes Spanish language content
This is a temporary program and the benefit will end when the fund runs out of money or 6 months after the Dept of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID 19 health emergency, whichever is sooner. So, its best to apply on the front end and receive some benefit rather than wait and have that timeline decreased.
This and other resources can be found on the City of Eugene Community Support website.
Several of you have asked about any possible summer opportunities for students. We have been working hard on this for the last month. We are still a couple weeks away from releasing the final details, but below is a list of some general information. We are hopeful that by Monday the 17th, we will have something more concrete to share! Stay tuned for more details on the exciting activities that will be taking place in our “Super Summer programs!”
- The space we will have is somewhat limited, however we will try to make it available to as many students as possible.
- Schools/teachers will be starting the process by reaching out to specific parents with a focus being on our students with an IEP, 504, or those that have struggled academically, emotionally or with attendance during the 2020-2021 school year.
- The program will run for 4 weeks, 4 days a week (Mon-Thurs). It is currently scheduled for July 12-August 5.
- At the elementary level we expect the time-frame to be 9 am-2 pm. The elementary program will run at Elmira Elementary.
- At the middle school & high school we are expecting a 3.5 hour program, running from approximately 9:30 am-1:00 pm.
- The high school offerings will be to earn/recover credit.
- There is also a KITS program we will be running (for incoming Kinders)–if you are interested, please contact your local Elementary school ASAP.
- Stay tuned!
To Our Teachers:
You’ve learned to create virtual learning communities.
You’ve found new ways to connect with students.
You’ve re-defined what the words “pivot” and “unprecedented” mean for education.
You’ve got PPE down to a science, have sanitized e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, and know the square footage of your classroom by heart.
And yet, despite all of the challenges that came our way, the quality and dedication of our educators is unchanged.
You’ve been here, standing together, and taking care of our students so that each can continue to reach their greatest potential.
Thanks for all you do!
Since we expanded a few weeks ago to bring more students back to full-time instruction, district staff have been following both the county COVID-19 infection rates, our local rates here in the school district attendance area, as well as the restrictions currently in place for our county based on the “extreme risk” designation. That information, combined with the knowledge that to date we have NOT had transmission of the virus in our schools, that things are going well, and that the risk of shutting down in-person instruction becomes more likely should we bring all students back and transmission occur, we have made some decisions.
For the final 6 weeks the District will remain in our current model, and NOT expand in-person instruction. While this news may be disappointing for some, we believe it gives us the best chance to reach the 2nd week of June and NOT have a situation where we will need to return to CDL, even with rising county rates. Having to return to CDL would be extremely problematic, as in two weeks we will begin a chromebook check-in process, starting with our youngest students (K-2) and ending the last week of school with High School and all OPTIONS program students (More information coming out on this in the coming days).
The primary thing that could mandate us to return to a CDL format, would be if significant transmission of the virus was occurring within the school. I am hopeful, if not mildly confident, we have the ability to avoid that, regardless of whether or not the county rates continue to rise. While we have had several students contact the virus in recent weeks through a wide variety of ways (most often through a positive parent, or a weekend gathering with friends), all of the protocols and safety measures taking place in schools have resulted in ZERO transmissions in our schools. For us to make it through the end of the school year and be able to maintain what we are still doing, will require everyone doing their part. Please continue to keep your students home when they have any symptoms, avoid large gatherings, and practice recommended protocols at all times. The single biggest factor, besides all of our safety protocols, to ensure there is no spread in our schools, would be to have NO students testing positive!
A couple quick notes on the 21-22 school year. While there is still lots of work to do before September, I fully expect the FRSD to have a normal school day and calendar in 21-22 (what that looks like will largely depend on ODE guidance, and the COVID-19 infection rate). All of our staff will be doing whatever it takes over the summer to ensure to the best of our ability that occurs! I was in a meeting today with ODE where it was stated that they will have the first iteration of Fall guidance out on July 19th. Superintendents shared loudly and clearly that we need this guidance earlier. Regardless of when it comes, I am committed to exploring any option that gets students to experience a normal academic calendar in 21-22. Finally, our FRSD OPTIONS program will continue in 21-22 as an additional choice for our parents that would like that. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the district office, or your building principal.
Thank you to the many staff members that put in extra work to make sure our current 5th and 6th graders are getting an “Outdoor School” experience.
Special thanks to Mrs. Leatham and Mrs. Marshall who spearheaded this effort. While it looks different than normal, the first day of 6th grade outdoor school is a success and we look forward to our 5th graders participating next week!