The Canby School District shared its long-awaited start date for reopening classrooms to the youngest elementary students — and it’s several weeks later than officials had initially hoped.
The district had previously set the “ambitious” goal of returning to a hybrid in-person learning model for kindergarten through third-grade students the week of Feb. 8.
In an email late Friday, Superintendent Trip Goodall said the return will actually happen March 1 — barely one week shy of a year since the onset of the pandemic closed schools statewide.
Students in grades 4-6 may start hybrid in-person learning beginning March 8, Goodall said, while the option will be extended to grades 7-12 beginning March 29 — as long as the advisory metrics for reopening continue their downward trend.
District officials will continue to monitor coronavirus metrics throughout the reopening to “demonstrate having our schools open does not contribute to transmission of Covid-19,” the superintendent said.
“Our district and school leadership teams have been working toward reopening and still have many tasks ahead to complete in order for everyone to return to school safely,” Goodall said. “There are more than 160 health and safety protocols that must be followed once school reopens.
“While we’ve had to push our timeline out a few weeks, we are committed to what’s best for our students for the remaining four and half months of the school year.”
Middle and high school administrators are looking at ways to bring small groups of students back prior to March 29 for limited in-person instructional opportunities, Goodall added.
“We know how important it is to return students to in-person learning,” he said. “Mounting evidence shows that transmission of Covid-19 in schools is low if all safety precautions are followed.
“We recognize strict adherence to those precautions will give us the best opportunity to keep staff and students safe when we return to in-person learning. That time has come.”
Parents will receive additional information about schedules, transportation, meal options and health and safety protocols before in-person learning begins. Families will have the option of remaining in the Connected At-Home Learning model or the Canby Online Learning Academy.
District staff is being allocated to support all three learning models, Goodall said, with the goal of providing families the opportunity to select the program they feel is right for their child.
“I am confident that we can safely return to in-person learning,” he said. “The benefits of returning to our classrooms are recognized. We know that students are resilient and that this time outside of the classroom has had a large impact on their academic, social, and emotional well-being.”
Though Governor Kate Brown announced in late December that local districts would be able to reassume control of their reopening timelines, many have encountered difficulties in beating her initial goal of seeing students returning to in-person instruction by Feb. 15.
School districts in Lake Oswego and Redmond, which drew praise from parents, students and advocacy groups for their ambitious plans of reopening early next month, later had to walk those timelines back.