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

School Board Community Letter – July 2020

July 20, 2020

Dear Central Linn Community:

Thank you for your participation in our survey that was sent out gaining your opinion about what school should look like for the fall of 2020. It was overwhelmingly clear that the families of CL want to see their students back in the classroom. At the July School Board Meeting, the School Board, approved a revised calendar for the 20/21 school year. All schools must decide locally how to best meet the ODE and OHA guidelines for education during COVID19. Smaller school districts have an easier time providing in-person education due to the nature of these guidelines. We decided that it was in the best interest of the students and community that we offer a 5-day school week with shorter days for the upcoming school calendar.

Here are some of the main reasons:

  1. All students lost learning this spring.  We want to maximize the time we have with students to make up for that loss.
  2. Due to ODE guidelines and the necessity of keeping students in consistent cohorts, our ability to effectively manage what we have come to know and value as Friday School is impossible for the 20/21 school year.
  3. We only approved the calendar and not the schedule (more information to come), but the days will be roughly 1.5-2 hours shorter.  Teachers will not have prep time during the day, but instead will have common prep and PLC time after students leave along with time to adhere to state mandated cleaning protocols which will occur each day after the students go home.
  4. For schools offering in-person learning, they will need to be fluid and ready to have short durations of distance learning depending on the spread of the virus. This is another reason to maximize the time we have by going five days when possible.

We know that this year will not look “normal”, but a majority felt this five-day-a-week calendar was our best option.  Making decisions like this is never easy. We hope that you will join us in supporting this decision and helping to make next year as best as it can be.

We would like to stress that this calendar was only approved for next school year, and it should not be inferred or perceived as a way of switching from a four-day-week to a five-day-week in the long-term. For a decision of that magnitude, we would want community input.

By now, most of you should have received a phone call from the school asking about transportation for next year.  We transport roughly 390 kids by bus, and to be able to transport and meet the new ODE guidelines for social distancing, we can realistically transport 200 students. Many families have let us know that they will be able to provide their own transportation, but please know that if you cannot we will transport your children.

I find myself vacillating towards optimism and then sadness.  As a parent it is hard knowing what your children have missed out on: outdoor school, athletics, prom, graduation, music concerts, relationships, band events, and FFA and FH at the fair with all the normal grandeur. Just the other day I was talking with my oldest about how he’ll feel if there aren’t sports this fall. He admitted he’d be sad, but then he took a deep breath and he said, “I’ll be fine mom. I’ve got two more years.” I love that he was using some of the same strategies of hope that I use when I’m faced with circumstances outside of my control I hope we can all breathe deeply, find our centers, and make the best out of not great circumstances.

I was driving through Halsey, and could see the work on the roof at the elementary school. This gave me hope. Something exciting was happening, something good for our kids.  Then as I approached the high school, I could see the foundation was poured for the new junior high building.  This was also exciting to see, and to imagine students learning in this fall.  My son asked, “Are they going to work on the high school roof?”  I was happy to respond that yes, the District is applying for the same seismic grant that is fixing the roof at the elementary school, and we will know by January if we will receive those funds.

Planning for the future. Finding joy. Having hope. Providing a rigorous education for all learners, and doing what’s best for students continues to drive decisions at Central Linn. Thank you for your support during one of the hardest years of our lives.