Schools set to open 4 days a week April 12

Oregon High School student Katie Bergeland works on a project earlier this month.

The Oregon School District is taking another step toward full reopening, announcing plans to bring students back four days a week, starting Monday, April 12.

In a message to families sent March 17 asking them to select virtual or a phased restart option, district superintendent Leslie Bergstrom explained how the week would go for the various grade levels.

Different district teachers will work with in-person and virtual students, with K-6 students at Brooklyn, Forest Edge, Netherwood Knoll and Prairie View elementary schools having in-person instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:50 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. Rome Corners Intermediate School would run from 7:55 a.m. to 2:55 p.m.

Oregon Online students will remain in online instruction for the remainder of the semester.

For grades 7-12, teachers will continue to teach concurrently to both in-person and online students, with students in both A and B Group returning for in-person instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Oregon Middle School will run from 8:35 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., with learning hubs at the school in the afternoons. Oregon High School will run from 8:35 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with learning hubs at the school in the afternoon.

Wednesdays will continue to be asynchronous learning days for students to allow for individual assistance from teachers, and for teacher collaboration and planning.

In the letter to parents, Bergstrom said staff are adjusting student and teacher class schedules based on family selection changes. This includes incorporating mental health supports and in-person transition planning for students, re-working transportation routes and re-configuring classrooms, based on new guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week that loosened distancing requirements to three feet from six feet.

Under those recommendations, elementary school students can be distanced by three feet at all times, because children younger than 10 do not spread COVID-19 as easily as their older peers; middle and high school students are recommended to be distanced three feet apart only if rates of community transmission are low.

At the Monday, March 22, school board meeting, Bergstrom said around three quarters of families opted for phased restart, with 3,158 (78%) choosing that model and the remaining 909 students (22%) staying virtual. Around 5% of virtual students have switched to the phased restart model.

She said after spring break, which begins March 29, the district will finalize bus routes and inform families, and try to do as much as state mandated testing as possible.

“So when our kids come back on April 12, we can start going at a really fast clip without too many interruptions related to testing,” she said.

The district first brought its K-2 students back for part-time virtual instruction in October, and then brought back grades 3-6 back in mid-January. Middle and high school students had to wait until Feb. 8 for a partial in-person return.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.