June 2, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As we begin to wind down a difficult ending to the 2019-20 school year, I know that many of you have questions about what next fall will look like. I wish I could provide definite answers to your questions. However, as this situation has shown us, the information and answers change quickly. We have no way of knowing where we will be come September. What I can say is that we will be in one of three situations. Distance learning à Hybrid onsite and at home à Full time onsite school.
Over the past seven weeks we have been operating in the world of distance learning. We were forced into this position by the statewide closure of schools that is in effect through June 30. Although many students and families have done well with distance learning, many have found it to be difficult. We recognize that it is not an ideal way to run our schools. We have learned much over the past seven weeks and hope that if we are forced again to go to distance learning that we will be better prepared, and the quality of education will be improved. This model of education will be used if we are closed due to the pandemic.
Out of an abundance of caution and the need to properly social distance students and staff, we may have to employ a hybrid model. In this model of education, we would have half of the students at school at any given time. We could do this in every other day format or a morning/afternoon format. When students are not at school, they would be doing schoolwork at home. In between groups we would do a proper cleaning and sanitizing of the school and equipment. This model of education would be used if the social distancing and small group number restrictions are still in effect and recommended by the Oregon Health Authority. It would allow us to spread students out in a classroom with adequate distance to practice safety precautions to protect our students and staff.
Full-time at school
Students return to school full-time while continuing to practice good social distancing and hygiene practices to minimize the potential spread of the virus. In this model students will likely be screened daily for symptoms, eat breakfast and lunch in the classroom, and go to recess in smaller groups. All these measures would need to be in place to ensure safety of students and staff. Although this may appear to be school as normal, we will be required to take whatever precautionary measures that are recommended at the time by the Oregon Health Authority. This model has students in the classrooms every day, which we know is the best model for education.
As we look forward to next school year, we will have to plan for any and all these models. We could also begin the year in one model and be forced to shift to another model depending on the amount of active cases of COVID-19 in our community. School will not be what we would call normal for the foreseeable future. At all times we will ask that families do what is recommended by the Oregon Health Authority. The Oregon Department of Education is scheduled to release guidance by June 8th for school districts around the state to consider as we look to opening next fall. The Coos Bay School district will be spending the summer planning for next fall. We will be planning for all the three options and we will be ready to begin school on-time in September. Depending on the active cases of COVID-19 in our area and the guidance from The Oregon Health Authority, we will be in one of the three models that I explained in this letter. It is my hope that we have kids in our schools full-time as that is the best way for us to provide the quality education that we strive for. Once new information becomes available, I will be communicating that to you. I appreciate all that you as families have done to support the education of your child. You were placed into a very difficult situation in a very short period of time. Thank you for working with us to provide care, connection, and continued learning for your child. Take care and have a wonderful summer! I hope to see everyone back in the buildings next fall.
Coos Bay Public Schools
(A PDF/Printable version of this letter is attached below in English and Spanish)