Serving the Communities & Surrounding Areas of Brownsville, Halsey, Shedd & Peoria, Oregon.

Letter to the Community from Superintendent Gardner – August 21, 2020

August 21, 2020  /  Superintendent

Central Linn Families,

Thank you, families, for hanging in there with us as we navigate these difficult times. Your support is much appreciated. We have done and will continue to do the best we can to respond to the expressed wants and needs of this community while still protecting our state funding by adhering to Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) mandatory guidance. We are in this together.

Start/Stop Times:
K-5: 8am-2pm following the district calendar
6th: 9am-3pm following the district calendar
7th & 8th: Comprehensive Distance Learning (we are waiting on the new building)
9th-12th: 9am-3pm following the district calendar

The first week of school, which starts September 8th, will be devoted to ‘on boarding’ students and parents. The regular school schedule will begin the following week, September 14th. Grades 7-12 will use the week of the 8th as a ‘soft start’. Your child will attend just one day that week along with the cohort that they have been assigned to receive technology devices and to be trained in new routines. For grades K-6, individual conferences will be set up for each student and parent/caregiver during the week of the 8th. Technology, supplies, and instruction on the use of technology will be provided at that time. More information of the logistics of this startup will be communicated to individual parents by the respective buildings.

I am getting many questions about how we are able to reopen when most districts are not and under what circumstances we would close. It all comes down to geography, amount of community spread and timing. We are the only district in Linn County that meets the technical definition of both rural and remote. There is a specific set of rules that came out August 11th that allowed a school such as ours to open K-12 as long as each building was restricted to no more than 250 students in a week, there was little community spread within the boundaries of the district, county new cases are less than 30 per 100,000 population and the local health authority approved the opening. All of these things were true for us on August 13th when I declared schools open (yes, we are technically open now even though we have not started classes). It is important to note that there is almost no community spread within CL boundaries, but we also know that our population is not so isolated that it could not change at any time.

Once a school is declared open, which we are, a new set of rules apply to force us back to distance learning. When speaking with the Linn County Health Department and ODE, I have been told that when cases hit 40 per week we should start preparing for distance learning, and that if they hit 50 we must move to distance learning. On Tuesday the 18th, the report for August 9th-15th showed 41 cases per 100,000. So far this week, we are showing a much lower pace. The bottom line is that we will continue to move towards in person learning while being prepared to move to distance learning if the county case rate increases. It is still a possibility that we will not be allowed to open as planned.

Thank you to everyone who registered, any new registrations will be enrolled in distance learning. At the end of the registration period our enrollment was 538 learners. Enrollment is down almost 100 students. This will impact budgeting for next year between $850,000-$1,000,000. Roughly 17%. I am not trying to scare anyone, just keeping you informed about your community school. Thank you for your continued partnership in serving the children of our community.

Brian Gardner