Important Update Regarding the Start of School Year 20/21

August 7, 2020

Dear Students and Families of the Monroe School District:

As the school year quickly approaches, we continue to see changes in the amount and severity of COVID-19 cases across the state.  We are fortunate, at this time, to be in much better shape than many other areas of the state.

Following directives from the State of Oregon and guidance from the Oregon Department of Education, Monroe School District will start the year using a variety of formats to provide the best educational opportunities we can for our students.

Grades 4-12 will begin in Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL).  This is the only thing allowed by the Governor’s order and ODE directives. There are some exceptions for students with Special Needs to receive “limited” on-site instruction in grades 4-12.  We are looking into the ODE definition of “limited” and we will be exploring those options, as well as options for Career Technical Education labs.

At this time, based on state and county metrics and the exceptions allowed, we are planning to begin school with grades K-3 in a hybrid in-person model of instruction.  We will be finalizing our hybrid plans this coming week.  Many larger districts are beginning the year with all of their students K-12 in distance learning.  In an effort to try and support our K-3 students and families, as well as provide as safe an environment as possible for our staff, we have agreed to utilize the governor’s exception for K-3 as long as our county COVID-19 metrics allow.

Because we are faced with a constantly changing environment, we are planning in nine week (quarter) increments.  We will be monitoring our status on a weekly basis.  As conditions improve, we hope to transition all students to a hybrid model as quickly as possible.  If conditions decline, we may need to make other adjustments.  While we will be working diligently to provide strong virtual content for our students, we believe that in-person instruction is the best and most viable option for our students.

We are considering starting school one week later to give staff two full weeks to prepare on both hybrid learning and distance learning.  This will significantly improve the distance learning experience for our students, parents, and staff.  It will also allow our classroom K-3 teachers time to prepare.  With the work we have already begun, combined with what will occur the first two weeks staff return, we are confident we can provide an engaging and rigorous Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) model for our students. Currently, having 4th-12th grade students attend in person is NOT allowed with the Governor’s guidance.  Our school board will finalize our school calendar at their August meeting.

We are in the process of developing a full online program for all families K-12 who choose this option.  The online learning program is for families that, for example, have a medically fragile student, a high-risk household member, are waiting for a vaccine, or simply want to start the year in CDL and will not be moving back to the building when the metrics allow us to open up with more in-person instruction.  More information on this option will be provided soon for those interested families.

Last week, the Oregon School Activities Association officially adopted a modified athletics calendar for high school level sports.  The press release for this change can be found here:  All sports seasons are essentially still intact but will be played in a different order/time of year.  There will be no high school interscholastic contests allowed this fall.  More information on athletics and other extra-curricular activities will emerge as we enter the school year.

There are still many details around the reopening of school that need to be worked out.  We have been managing changes on a weekly basis from the state level and are expecting more adjustments coming on August 11th.  It is our goal to provide options for parents, stay in compliance with the requirements, and provide our families with as much in-person instruction as possible.  When it is not possible, we will be working hard to ensure our CDL program is one that is as engaging as we can possibly make it, and that parents and students have the support and technology they need to make it work for their family.