At the board meeting on Monday night, I shared the framework of our re-opening school plans for the Fern Ridge School District. This framework has been created over the past few weeks based on the extensive requirements and guidelines put out by ODE and OHA, as well as input from our staff, students, and parents. The framework is as follows:
For families that need or choose to access Comprehensive Distance Learning, we will have a program. We have created a new department within our district: The FRSD Options Program. The staff in this department will support students and families that choose this option. At the elementary level it will be through the Google Classroom platform and for grades 6-12, it will be through the platform of Edgenuity. The extensive logistics of this will be worked out in the coming weeks. We have started the work on this. The exact start date, how to register, and more detailed information (a handbook so to speak) will come out as soon as it is available.
For families that need or choose to have students in school, our brick and mortar schools will be open as follows:
Elementary school: There will be no school on Mondays. Every Tuesday through Friday throughout the year, school will be in session. All students enrolled will come to school each of the four days. Google classroom will be taught and used in school, so that if we need to transition to either Short Term Distance Learning or Comprehensive Distance Learning for all, we will have the ability to do so. In addition to traditional Spring Break and Winter Break, there will be no school the week of Thanksgiving. We will be implementing extensive hygiene and sanitation protocols, and using cohorting along with physical distancing as required.
Middle School and High School: There will be no school on Mondays. Every Tuesday through Friday throughout the school year, school will be in session. Students will be split into two cohorts and attend school on either the “A-days” (Tuesday and Thursday) or “B-days” (Wednesday and Friday). Some of our students with higher needs will have the option of attending all four days. In addition to traditional Spring Break and Winter Break, there will be no school the week of Thanksgiving.
In the coming weeks, as we work on the logistics of this massive undertaking (including but not limited to supporting staff, students, and families, transporting students safely, delivering meals, and creating daily schedules) we will keep parents informed. The exact start date of school has not been determined. We are just now beginning to address critical details on whether or not we need to stagger our start (bring students back slowly or on an adjusted schedule) and what that looks like to ensure we are prepared for what will be a new and challenging school program.
Per ODE requirements, the district must submit a “blueprint” documenting what “re-opening” looks like at each building by August 15th. At that time we will be able to share more of the specific details of each option, we will be asking parents to review those details and inform the District of which option they prefer for their family.
Sometime in the next week to ten days I expect ODE, in cooperation with OHA, to put out more specific metrics that will give local leaders additional information. This will be on what local infection rates are, and how districts should consider that information when considering full-time distance learning vs. full-time brick and mortar as well as a wide range of possibilities that lie somewhere between those two models. That guidance will be reviewed, as well as any other new information or trends that occur. We are trying to create a model that allows for flexibility and the ability to move into and out of brick and mortar buildings with minimal disruption, when required to do so. Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate this and try to find creative ways to serve our students and families.
Gary E. Carpenter, Jr.