Gary Carpenter

For the foreseeable future, we will be addressing a heating issue at EHS.  This morning we found that the primary mixing valve had failed in the boiler system.  Earlier this year, our maintenance staff identified this valve as needing to be replaced and we ordered one.  It was scheduled to be here in late December to change out, however, the part has not yet arrived due to supply/factory issues and today it failed.

We will be monitoring the heat in the school closely and be doing several things to help keep the rooms to temperature until this problem can be fixed.  We had multiple experts on site today and we will continue to problem solve along side them in the days to come.

In the meantime, students should dress for cooler temperatures on campus, especially first thing in the morning, before strategies we will be implementing have time to take effect each day. We will continue to monitor and adjust.  For future updates, please follow the EHS webpage.

Today we have been able to resolve the circumstances from the January 3rd incident where it was reported to school administrators that someone had seen a “threat” on social media.  Thank you to local law enforcement (LCSO), and their numerous other partners, for working with the district diligently to resolve this.  As you may recall, due to receiving this information in the early evening hours of January 3rd, and an inability to gather enough information to solve the issue that night, the decision was made to cancel school for EHS and FRMS on January 4th.  By the end of the day on the 4th we determined this was not a credible threat and were confident enough in the circumstances surrounding this issue to return to school the following day.  Since that time, I, along with other District staff and law enforcement, have spent time on this issue each and every day.  It is one we take seriously.

Earlier this afternoon a student and her family met with law enforcement.  She was cooperative and honest about these circumstances and admitted to making up the fact that a threat had been seen on social media. She was cited in lieu of custody due to her honesty and cooperation and released to her parents.  Subsequently, I also met with the family.  Law enforcement will be pursuing appropriate charges based on these specific circumstances, and the school district will be doing the same through our discipline/due-process guidelines and policies.   The family has been very cooperative and in addition to appropriate consequences, we will be looking for ways to support this student and her family in the days and weeks to come.

A reminder to our students that threats made or reported for ANY reason will be taken seriously and they have significant ramifications and consequences to not only the perpetrator, but our entire community.  Thank you to our staff, students and parents for your patience as we worked through this.  The safety and security of all students is our first priority.  As always, if you hear or see anything that may indicate a safety issue, please report it right away.

Gary E. Carpenter, Jr., Superintendent, FRSD 28J

Today, ODE released graduation rate data for the 20-21 school  year.  That data can be viewed here:  GRADUATION RATE DATA.

A BRIEF summary of the data is below.  Thank you to all of our staff across the District K-12 that work tirelessly to support our students and their pursuit of a diploma.  In addition, thank you to the families that prioritize school and encourage the academic achievement of their children!

20-21 4 year cohort graduation rate for all students in the State of Oregon:  80.63%

20-21 4 year graduation rate for all Lane County students:  77.82%

20-21 4 year graduation rate of Elmira High School students:  91.01%

Due to the the district’s current situation, that of having the highest number of staff and students out as a result of COVID, the board has decided to hold their January meeting virtually.  It is still the plan to return to an in-person option as soon as possible, hopefully in February (we will always maintain a virtual option going forward so that more parents and community members have an opportunity to attend).

The agenda and notice for this (and all) board meetings can be found here.

The good news is that in December, the board adopted a new policy that allows for community members to submit comment virtually, in the same manner they would if we were in person.  The policy can be found HERE, and the administrative rule can be found HERE.  The administrative rule has a form (on page 2) that must be submitted by 1:00 PM the day of the board meeting in order to be included in the public comment portion of that meeting.  Any forms submitted after that deadline will be added to the next board meeting.  When submitting comment virtually, it is important to fill out the form completely and include the attendee name or phone number you will “join” the meeting under so that you can be “pulled in” to the virtual webinar to make your comment.

If a community member would like to submit comment and have it read for them (due to not being available at that time, or a lack of technology), that is a possibility as well.  Simply note that in the form and submit the comment you would like read, as identified on the form.  Please refer any questions to Michelle Smith at

Comments must be kept to three minutes (we will have a timer), and 30 minutes will be allocated to each board meeting for public comment.

Thank you to all of our families that were in our facilities after school hours Friday night and over the weekend for basketball.

At our home basketball game Friday night, we had the vast majority of fans doing what they need to do to allow us to continue to offer indoor athletics this winter.  In addition, I visited TSP games this weekend and compliance was excellent.  If we continue to wear masks, and wear them appropriately, it will be a tremendous help in regards to allowing the District to continue to offer these opportunities over the next several weeks.

With Spring sports occurring outside, the restrictions and requirements will be much less for track, softball and baseball.  We look forward to not having to enforce as many protocols, with our only primary mitigation being to encourage and enforce social distancing as best as we can.  Thank you again for your willingness to do what we needed to do this weekend.  Please continue to do so in the coming weeks.

Finally, I also wanted to take a minute to thank the NUMEROUS volunteers that give lots of hours to youth sports throughout our community in order to afford our youth these important experiences.

The district remains committed to doing everything possible to provide indoor athletics for our students this Winter, however, we need support from the community if athletics are going to continue.  Below are brief updates regarding athletics in FRSD, addressing both EHS (district-funded athletics) as well as youth athletics that use our facilities (TSP)

EHS ATHLETICS:  After a 5 day pause, our boys and girls basketball teams are back practicing and competing.  Wrestling continues as well.  Many districts throughout Oregon have either paused, halted all together, stopped allowing spectators, or limited spectators.  At this point, all we are asking in Fern Ridge, is that folks attending our games are 100% compliant with the masking requirement, that we social distance, and do not eat in the stands.  If we can continue to do that, we will stay the course.  If fans are not in compliance with this we will make announcements at the game.  I will not be asking staff that are supervising to go into the stands and confront individuals who are not in compliance.  If it is reported that we have fans not wearing masks, we will simply need to move to limiting the number of fans attending, not allow fans in our gyms, or halt athletics altogether.

TSP ATHLETICS:  We continue to be committed to allowing TSP to utilize our gyms and provide important opportunities for activity to our students.  However, following masking protocols must improve in our gyms on the weekends.  In Eugene 4J, Kidsports/YMCA youth athletics are not allowed in any gyms yet this year.  In Springfield, spectators are limited.  We are doing everything we can to continue to offer this in FRSD, however absent significant improvement in regards to wearing masks in our gyms, we will pause TSP games after this weekend.

Following these protocols helps ensure we can maintain in-person instruction.  Each day this week we have had between 10 and 20 staff out who need to be home with their students who have tested positive or were close contacts, were close contacts themselves (and have not been boosted—which is the new requirement), or have tested positive. Having gyms full of our students and parents un-masked, whether at EHS athletic events, or on a Saturday/Sunday with youth sports, impacts our staff greatly, and increases the likelihood we may need to pause in-person instruction, like numerous schools and districts across the state have already done.  Please help us keep our schools open.

Finally, a big thank-you to all the parents and community members that ARE following all of our safety protocols each and every time they visit a campus!

Below are two links that describe some of the new CDC recommendations around boosters and isolation/quarantine periods.  As I mentioned yesterday, we are currently seeing a spike in cases in our school community, more than we have seen at anytime during the pandemic.

An additional important tip/piece of guidance to share is this:  If your student has symptoms, PLEASE get them tested.  If the test is positive, they would need to isolate for at least 5 days (and fever free with no primary symptoms for 24hrs). Following their isolation from a positive case of COVID,  they would NOT need to quarantine if they were a close contact for the next 90 days (following CDC/OHA recommendations).

CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

As much of Oregon is seeing, and specifically Lane County, we are experiencing a large spike in cases of COVID-19 among staff and students today.  Fortunately, all of our staff have been vaccinated, and symptoms for everyone to this point have been relatively mild, and we expect them back in school soon.  Since the beginning of the year, our primary concern has been to maintain in-person instruction.  We have been able to do that through the creativity, teamwork and dedication of our staff, as well as by following all of the layered mitigation safety protocols.  To date, we have not had to alter our calendar due to a lack of staff, or as a result a COVID outbreak.  While daily in-person instruction throughout the year is our goal, all school districts in Lane County are preparing for the possibility of needing to close for short periods of time.

On Monday, ODE released a School health Advisory for Continuity of Instruction.  One of the things it addresses is that the expected spike in cases, thus resulting in requirements to isolate (for those ill) or quarantine (for those that are close contacts) and the impacts on workforce stability in a wide range of sectors, including schools.  We expect further updates from ODE on Friday regarding new requirements and guidance in the areas of quarantine, isolation, test to return, up-to-date vaccination status, safety protocols, athletics, testing programs and more.

The next month is critical. By mid to late January the modeling currently shows that we could be through this surge, and cases will drop off dramatically. We need the help of families and community members in order to maintain in-person instruction:

  • Keep your child home if they have symptoms.
  • Vaccination remains the best protection against serious illness and reduces spread of the disease.
  • Limit gatherings.
  • Follow safety protocols including masking, hand-washing, distancing, etc…

We will try to keep the community apprised of any changes.  Below we will briefly address multiple topics I would like our students and families to prepare for.

Remote Learning:  If the district needs to shift to remote learning, we are prepared to do so.  We believe we can get Chromebooks issued in 24 hours to our K-8 students (H.S. students already have them), and only need to be “closed” for one day.  If the district needs to close for multiple days (more than 3)…it is most likely we will look at engaging in remote learning.  If the district needs to close for less than 3 days, it is most likely that we will NOT be engaging in remote learning, we will simply have no school days. In this case, there is a possibility the school year could be extended. The need to do this, if it arrives, will be last minute.  We would encourage families to have a plan in place.  It will be a last resort.

Athletics:  For now, there are no long term changes to athletics, however due to an outbreak today among both basketball teams, both of those programs are needing to “pause” for one week.  I do not want to pause athletics permanently, as we are committed to providing as normal an athletic experience for our student athletes as possible.  Practicing the safety protocols listed above will be critical going forward, and for basketball teams when they return.  We want to make clear to our students and parents, that while we value participation in athletics, there is a much higher risk of catching and spreading COVID for our student athletes.  The primary difference here is that attending school is compulsory, while participating in athletics is voluntary.  This allows the district (through state guidance) — to have different requirements for each.

Will students be required to be vaccinated and/or boosted?: I have looked into this extensively in the last few weeks, and while I certainly cannot say I am 100% sure of anything, I am comfortable making the two statements below:

  • I do not expect any changes to the vaccination requirements in this school year.
  • If this were ever to occur, just like all other required vaccinations for students, I would expect parents would have a clear and relatively simple path to “opt-out.”

Updates to Quarantine & Isolation:  The CDC made new recommendations early this week.  OHA officials are currently working with the CDC regarding what this means for schools.  As soon as we get an update, and have time to interpret it, we will share this information.

Thank you to all the families, students and staff that continue to be flexible, follow protocols, and work hard daily to ensure we can continue to maintain in-person instruction.  That remains the goal, every day.

Gary E. Carpenter, Jr.

Superintendent, FRSD


Fern Ridge Families, I wanted to update you with as much information as I can, while not compromising the investigation being done by both local and Federal authorities.

  • What was the threat? In simple terms, it was that violence was going to occur on the EHS campus (there was a minor reference to FRMS)—No specific names were used and it was mostly directed towards staff.
  • Was there more than one person making threats? At this time, we believe it was one person.
  • Why re-open school if the person hasn’t been caught? The decision to close school was made in conjunction and consultation with local authorities, as was the decision to re-open.
  • Is the investigation over? No, multiple law enforcement agencies continue to work this case.  I remain hopeful we will identify the individual(s).
  • Will you continue to provide updates? I will continue to provide updates as warranted.
  • Can I keep my student home from school? If you believe this is what is best for you and your family at this time, then yes.  Please contact the school and work with the office and teachers regarding school work.

Thank-you for your continued patience and understanding.  This incident, ensuring students and staff are safe, and identifying the individuals that are involved, continues to be our top priority.

Gary E. Carpenter, Jr.

Superintendent, Fern Ridge School District

The FRSD is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative      Action/Veteran’s Preference employer.


The district does not discriminate on the basis of  race, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, sex or  age in its programs or activities.


FRSD Title IX Coordinator

Michelle Marshall 541-935-2253 Ext 1220

FRSD ADA Title II Coordinator

Gary Carpenter 541-935-2253 Ext 1203

FRSD 504 Coordinator

Rilke Klingsporn 541-935-2253 Ext 1301

88834 Territorial Rd.

Elmira, OR 97437


ODE Fall 2023 Title IX Sexual Harassment Training August 2023

Title IX Review & Refresh

Title IX Sexual Harassment Part 1 of 2

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