Update on Reopening Our Schools

November 18, 2020

Here is a quick update on reopening our schools:

The Governor, the Oregon Health Authority, and the Oregon Department of Education have created a set of “metrics” that need to be met on a county and statewide basis for Oregon schools to reopen.  Currently, using allowable exceptions, Monroe School District is operating a “hybrid” model for our students in grades K-3.  We are also bringing in small groups of students for targeted instruction under the “limited in-person” exception in grades 4-12.  All students grades 4-12 are receiving Comprehensive Distance Learning.

The Oregon metrics model currently uses a “two-week lookback” to track the number of positive COVID cases (per 100,000) and test positivity rate per county.  The metrics in Benton County were initially near the needed number of 50 (or less) but have since spiked to 162 this week.  This spike correlates to similar patterns across the state.

We have been planning to bring 4th and 5th grade students back to in-person instruction following the Thanksgiving holiday using the same hybrid model as our K-3 students.  While we are still planning for this next phase in our progression of returning students, Benton County has temporarily delayed this phase until county metrics improve.  Metrics are updated each week.  Should the Benton County case rate continue to worsen, there is a chance we may be put back into Comprehensive Distance Learning for all of our students K-12.

At this time, we will continue (as allowed) to operate our current K-3 hybrid and limited in-person instruction, along with CDL for grades 4-12.  

Our primary goal remains bringing our students back to our buildings as safely and as soon as possible.  We will continue to provide the best educational opportunities that we can.  We are encouraging all of our community members to do what they can to keep our community safe (and case rates low) by wearing masks, maintaining social distancing protocols, and washing hands often.  The sooner we can lower case counts, the sooner we can return our students to the buildings.  Having limited local case rates will also help us in our reopening process.  Please contact your student’s teacher, building principal, or myself with any questions regarding our current situation.

This has been a fluid situation that changes weekly (if not daily) for all of us.  Thank you for your patience and support for our schools.

Bill Crowson
Monroe School District