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October 30th School Reopening Update

October 30th School Reopening Update
Posted on 10/30/2020

On October 30th, Governor Brown announced a change in the metrics that have previously prohibited our schools from opening to in-person learning: https://www.oregon.gov/ode/students-and-family/healthsafety/Pages/RSSL-Guidance.aspx. The revised metrics have significant and exciting implications for our students and schools. Our district leadership is currently in deep discussion on the best way to move forward as we continue to prioritize the safety and academic success of the children we serve. 


The health metrics for reopening schools in Oregon have changed in these significant ways:

- Removes the statewide 5% threshold for the percentage of tests coming back positive. This simpler approach reflects local conditions and the county test positivity will remain an important local metric.
- Changes the review period for examining metrics data from three consecutive one-week periods to a two-week period. This will avoid situations in which a one-time cluster in a smaller county resets the clock.
- Expands the reopening exception for in-person learning to include all grades in elementary schools.
- Allows a school district to consider phasing in on-site or hybrid instruction for elementary schools when the county positive case rate per 100,000 people is between 50 to 100 and the county test positivity rate is between 5% to 8% over two weeks.
- Allows on-site or hybrid instruction for all students when the county case rate per 100,000 people is less than 50 and the county test positivity rate is less than 5% over two weeks.

What does this mean for the Estacada School District?

The Estacada School District is excited to begin a safe and controlled reopen process based on revised metrics. Our district is firm in the belief that students need in-person learning from our staff. Some students need on-campus services including the internet, a safe place to learn, and social-emotional support in order to access learning. In-person learning also supports equitable learning to improve access for working and low-income families.

The new guidelines are in line with guidelines that have been successfully rolled out in surrounding states, and better reflect new research and revised CDC guidelines and best practices. Our district has been diligently preparing for months to bring students safely back on campus in anticipation of a shift in the metrics

On November 3rd, we will publicly communicate our reopening timeline and planned instructional models based on revised metrics. We will bring students on campus as soon as possible while accommodating planning and safe reentry, and will ensure rigorous monitoring of health and safety practices. Increased safety practices will include contact tracking, pre-screening protocols, and PPE availability and enforcement. 

All decisions we make moving forward will be made in collaboration with our school board, staff, and community. We will also continue to provide a best-in-class distance learning opportunity for any families that choose to remain 100% virtual.


Our leadership is committed to creating a plan that reflects the values of our community and looks forward to serving students in an expanded capacity soon. I want to thank you all for your patience, partnership, and kindness as we continue to adjust to the circumstances in front of us. The safety and learning of our students remain our top priority.

Sincerely,

Ryan Carpenter
Superintendent
Estacada School District