Fully In-Person School Unlikely in Canby Next Year under Current Covid Rules

Though it is overwhelmingly preferred by students, parents and families, fully in-person instruction is unlikely in the Canby School District next year because the strict physical distancing guidelines being required by the Oregon Department of Education will make it virtually impossible.

That was the conclusion in a letter to families from Superintendent Trip Goodall Friday, who said all of the region’s districts are — like Canby — exploring a hybrid model that incorporates some in-person learning and some independent study on the days a student group cannot be in school due to distancing restrictions.

“With these mandates, we will be unable to bring all students back into our buildings at the same time,” Goodall said. “The district is reviewing how best to use all of its facilities, including Ackerman Center, to serve as many students as possible, in-person at the same time. The plan must also take into consideration the staffing constraints to teach students in all these physical spaces.”

ODE guidelines require that schools seeking to bring students back into the classroom next year must provide a minimum of 35 square feet per person, along with at least six feet of physical space between each person.

“That means a classroom that once held 25 students is now limited to 14 students,” Goodall noted.

His message comes just days after the district released the results from a survey earlier this month that gauged parents and students’ experiences with last year’s distance learning experiment and what they would most like to see going forward.

Of the more than 1,000 parents and 400 students who weighed in, the answer to the latter question was clear: They want to be back in school.

More than 58 percent said they would prefer a traditional school model, while a quarter of respondents were willing to accept hybrid learning, and another 10 percent favored staggered schedules. Only 84 of the survey-takers, or 7.5 percent of respondents, favored a fully distance learning-based approach.

Almost 60 percent of those who responded to the survey, which was also offered in Spanish, said they disagreed with the statement, “A distance learning model works well for me/my student.”

“District and school administrators are reviewing staff, student, and parent survey feedback as they develop plans,” Goodall said. “As we move forward, we will continue to combine community feedback, staff input, and the state’s guidance into our planning.”

Updates to the ODE guidance are expected next week, he added, and promised to keep families and students updated as they “move closer to determining models” that meet the ODE’s guidelines and requirements.

See below for a complete copy of the results from the Canby School District’s parent and student survey:

Click to access CSD-PARENT_STUDENT-SURVEY-22JUN20.pdf

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