March 15, 2021
Athena-Weston School District Parents and Guardians,
After completing the review of guidance and metrics directed by Governor Brown, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) have released an update to the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance.
Executive Order 21-06 requires all Oregon public schools to offer access to fully On-Site or Hybrid Instructional Models by the weeks of March 29 for elementary grades, and April 19 for secondary grades. We have been operating on-site successfully utilizing our hybrid blue prints and we continue to advocate for relief with the limitations of 6 ft. distancing in classrooms.
Key changes in the new Oregon update:
∙ Simplifies the metrics table and makes clear that Hybrid or On-Site instruction is the primary instructional model for K-12 public schools, unless extreme rates of community transmission of COVID-19 make Comprehensive Distance Learning necessary.
∙ Eliminates the 100 person maximum in cohort design.
∙ Adjusts entry screening requirements and recommendations. Middle and high school students can meet the screening requirements from home.
∙ Clarifies that schools must provide Comprehensive Distance Learning for any student whose family requests it.
Oregon rules still require students to remain six feet apart inside buildings. There continues to be discussion concerning a 3 ft. distancing allowance vs. the current requirement of 6 ft. distancing. Our high school classrooms have space allowances for a maximum of 13 – 15 students; meaning that only half of the students can physically be in the classroom at a time. The changes identified above increase how many students are allowed in a cohort but fell short on reducing the distancing requirements that would allow our high school to have all students on site daily. We will continue to be hopeful that distancing requirements will be adjusted to allow our high school students to attend daily. Thank you for monitoring mask wearing and keeping children home when ill. Due to your efforts we have been able to maintain in-person instruction according to our Hybrid Plan for all of our students.