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Update from the Superintendent - July 10, 2020

July 10, 2020

Dear Centennial Community,

I wanted to provide you with up to date information about our efforts to safely reopen schools in September.  You may be aware that the Oregon Department of Education released statewide guidelines for the safe reopening of schools for the 20-21 school year. We recently sent a survey to get feedback on ideas of how we can safely reopen in September. There are still many details to problem solve and today we can give you an update of what we know and what we are still working on as a district.

What we know:

    • We understand, from your feedback this spring, that a primary objective in developing our plan should be to maximize the number of students who can engage in face-to-face learning, while also providing flexible learning options for students. We agree wholeheartedly and share your goal to bring as many students to our school campuses each day as possible.
    • The state guidance focuses on three core standards that help minimize the risk of spread of the virus:
  • Health and safety protocols: How we clean and sanitize, how we group (cohort) students for contact tracing, entry and exit rules, etc.
    • Social distancing: Students must have 35 sq ft. per space to help keep a distance from peers and staff. This is an average of about 18-19 students per classroom in Centennial. We also must maintain at least a 3-foot distance between students who ride our district transportation (This is approximately 12-28 students per bus depending on bus size).
    • Hygiene: All schools will focus on hygiene expectations to keep everyone as safe as possible. This includes increased expectations for handwashing and sanitizing on a frequent basis. We will also require face shields/masks for staff in compliance with ODE and state requirements. In addition, per current information, we will strongly recommend masks as age-appropriate for students, unless there is a health condition or disability that may interfere with a student wearing a mask.
  • In order to determine the most effective Instructional Model we are reviewing best practices, considering public health guidelines, and incorporating stakeholder feedback. At this point, the state has provided three instructional models options for our return to school. 

 

  • In order to meet the guidelines, provided by the Oregon Department of Education, it is not possible to offer full-time on-site instruction for most students, because of limited building capacity when meeting requirements for social distancing.  Bus capacity is also now limited due to similar requirements.  We are looking at offering hybrid and comprehensive distance learning models. We recently provided a survey to gauge parent feedback on these options.  If you have not yet taken this survey, please consider doing so now:
  • We will offer Comprehensive Distance Learning through an online-only version of school this fall for families who are not comfortable with an in-school schedule. 
  • If you are interested in your child attending the online-only option for 2020-2021, we kindly ask that you complete the following survey so we can plan accordingly and provide you with online school information as we develop our program.  
  • We will provide meals to students on the days they are in school. We will also have ‘grab and go’ meals available for students to have for the days they are not attending school in person.
  • We will prioritize support for our students who are eligible for Special Education services, are English Language Learners or are a part of other historically marginalized groups to provide as much additional support as we can.  
  • Reopening guidance continues to change based on the spread of the virus, and continued updated guidance from the Oregon Department of Education. These changes will continue to guide adjustments in the measures we take to reduce health risks. We will continue to update you as we learn more.

What we are working on:

 

  • We still await decisions from our legislature on school funding. Based on the revenue forecast from May and enrollment numbers, we may face significant budget cuts if there are not adequate interventions at the federal and state level. Our state legislature is meeting this summer to determine if they will develop strategies to reduce financials.  Again, these cuts would be significant in Centennial.
  • We want our staff to come back reassured that we are doing our best to keep them safe. We will continue to provide additional training, and equipment in order for staff and students to be successful. We are currently working on determining how to safely instruct, transport and safely feed students every day. The physical and mental health of students must be at the center of our work. 
  • We are still awaiting guidance from the state regarding sports and other extracurricular activities yet. Due to the evolving issues with the virus, the guidance from the state has not yet been released.

 

I know this process is difficult and not knowing all the details can be frustrating.  We are gathering information in order to create plans for a safe return to school in the fall.  We will stay in touch with our community approximately every two weeks, and keep you informed as we solidify our plans.  Thank you for your patience and support.  

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Paul Coakley