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

Letter to the Community from Superintendent Gardner – July 23, 2020

July 23, 2020

Central Linn Parents, Staff, and Community,

I am writing this letter in order to keep you as up to date as possible in this time of continual change and uncertainty and to ask parents for their help.

First, the regulations update from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). Yesterday, we received an update from ODE with required guidance for reopening schools. Central Linn receives roughly 50% of its funding from ODE and must follow ODE guidance to receive those funds. The biggest change is that ODE will now require all learners K-12 to wear face coverings at school. I was expecting the requirement ages 10 and up, and I was caught off guard when I learned the requirement would extend to the younger children. I know that the face covering issue has been politicized; however, I want to be clear: Central Linn School District is not making a political statement. We are simply adhering to state regulations. On the positive side, there is mounting evidence that the wearing of face coverings will add a layer of safety to our most vulnerable children and staff.

The trend around the state right now is towards distance learning or at least a hybrid of distance learning with some in-person instruction. This trend is largely due to the increasing difficulty of meeting the regulations necessary for in-person instruction. Although the district is in the process of making contingency plans for a robust distance learning program, we are still planning on opening school on September 8th. For those parents who choose to keep their children home, the district will provide a robust distance learning program; there is no need to sign up for an outside ‘online’ program. The district reserves the right to reject requests to move to such outside vendors, because we will have an ‘at home’ option.

Our first priority is to serve in-district children and, at the same time, children transferring into Central Linn have grown increasingly vital to our financial viability as a district. For our limited number of in-person instructional slots our priorities will be: 1) In-District children who have been registered prior to our August 18th deadline. 2) Current transfer students who have been registered prior to our August 18th deadline. Note that transportation most likely will not be available. 3) New transfer requests will be decided shortly after our August 18th deadline. After all in-person slots are filled and cohorts are set all other registering students will be placed in distance learning regardless of their in or out of district status.

In order for us to open school, we need all parents to do a couple of things in the next few weeks. Your participation will have a direct impact on school opening or not. Frankly, it will have a direct impact on the viability of public schools in the Central Linn community.

First, we need you to register your child for school ASAP. Online registration is open now and MUST BE COMPLETED BY AUGUST 18th. If you want to help, please do it today to give us time to plan. If you do not have access to the internet, please contact us ASAP: There WILL NOT be a ‘registration day’ at the schools.

Communicate with us if you are able to or planning on transporting your child to and from school without the use of a bus or if you will need the district to provide transportation. You can do this by returning the phone call that many of you received in the last two weeks, calling the district or school, or answering the transportation question when you register your child. Transportation is one of the most difficult regulations for us to meet, so please respond ASAP. We will not be able to give you start/stop times for school until we have this information from you.

Finally, I ask you for your grace. We could take the easier path and declare that we are moving to distance learning from day one, but we are making every effort to do what you have asked and open up the schools. Doing so is a monumental task under these conditions, and the process is messy; please be patient with us.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding. I will continue to share new information as it becomes available.

Sincerely,

Brian Gardner
Superintendent