UPDATE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT OF LINCOLN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (LCSD)
Dear Community and Staff of LCSD,
First of all, I wish you all a very Happy 2021 New Year! May this year bring love, peace, and health to you all.
On December 23rd Governor Brown communicated a statement that said that the State’s COVID Metrics would no longer be mandatory but will now be advisory. Her goal is to bring all Oregon students back to a model of in-person instruction by February 15, 2021.
Lincoln County was downgraded from Extreme Risk to High Risk. Our numbers for the last 2 weeks were 217.4 per 100,000. In the two-week period before this, we were at 174 which is less than the 200 per 100,000 required for Extreme Risk so we were downgraded to High Risk. As you can see, our numbers are back up and still concerning. We have a lot of work to do to get our numbers down and create a safer community in which to bring staff and students back.
On Monday, January 4, Oregon’s superintendents met with the Governor about this new “advisory” status of the metrics. This is a huge shift. Governor Brown heard 3 important requests from us: a) Working with our labor unions to ensure that bringing students back to school is a top priority, b) establishing a timeline for educators to receive the COVID vaccine, and c) working with Oregon Health Authority to move aside roadblocks to re-opening.
To that end, the leadership of the LCSD has decided the following:
- We will bring students back Hybrid K-6 on Monday, February 1. Hybrid is two days per week full-day school and 3 days per week of online learning. The cohorts are Monday/Thursday and Tuesday/Friday with no Wednesday in-person school for students. Students are still learning online on Wednesdays.
- We will bring back students Hybrid 7-12 Monday, February 8 (the start of semester 2). The principals at secondary will have the choice to actually bring kids back the week before February 8 for orientation for either one or two days. More detailed information will be coming out specifically about this so that you can plan.
Our hope is that we get a plan for COVID vaccinations and that we can all get them before February 1. I will be pushing hard for this. Regardless, we will still be bringing students back. We had students K-3 without vaccines safely and we would have had them all back by December 18 except that Lincoln County had that awful surge which, sadly, may happen again post-holiday break. Let’s hope not. What is clear is that Covid is not being spread in our schools but in our community. This is true across the nation. Many other states have children back already in person and our Governor is committed to having Oregon’s students back in school, too.
January 19 the Governor will be giving the State another health and safety update. We will not be changing anything at least until then. Our plan is to bring students back in early February. The caveat to this is that if things go really badly for the county and something else comes out on January 19, we will have to address that. Having said that, our plan moving forward is to bring students back in early February. The district will be spending the next four weeks planning for K-12 Hybrid.
Thank you very much,
Karen Gray, Superintendent