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

Letter to the Community from Superintendent Gardner – October 30, 2020

October 30, 2020

Greetings Central Linn Community,

Today Governor Brown released an update to the metrics that controls the conditions necessary for us to reopen schools across the state and here in Central Linn. The School Board and I have been working diligently for months to influence state guidance on reopening of schools because we believe strongly that kids need to be in school. Our voice was heard and had some impact, but we by no means received as much flexibility as we desired.

My team has not yet had the time to fully evaluate the new guidance, and I therefore cannot lay out for you today a definitive plan of our next moves. I can say that, as a state, we are moving in a direction that is more friendly to in-person instruction. As of today, Linn County does not meet the new metrics and we are not in a position to expand our in-person offering. I hope to have further communication out to you early next week. As always, the devil is in the details.

Under the original metrics, it was hard for me to see how we could possibly open school up K-12 this year. Under the new metrics, I see a path to get more kids in person and, if we all (staff, students, and community) work together and adhere to our state guidelines on distancing and masking, the possibility of a complete re-opening. I cannot express how little I care about anyone’s politics. I have plenty of frustration to go around on how COVID-19 has been handled. My only concern is about our kids and getting them in school safely and keeping staff safe in the process. Community spread within CL and at the Linn County level will have a direct impact on getting kids in school or not. As we enter the holiday season, as well as the traditional cold/flu season, our chosen behavior will impact our kids being in school or not; please help us get them in school.

On a different, yet related note, I canceled in-person conferences yesterday at the elementary level to protect my teachers from an increase in CL community spread as reflected by a substantial outbreak at the Georgia Pacific mill located in Halsey and concerns expressed by local health authorities. Facebook rumors of a school outbreak are absolutely false! We did have one child, in Distance Learning, test positive but that child has not been in the building all year. We have also put a couple of staff members in quarantine this year due to exposure outside of the school.

Thank you for taking the time to stay informed. I will be communicating more next week. Please stay safe, help others around you to stay safe, and let’s get our kids back in school.

Brian Gardner
Superintendent