Nyssa School District

This photo shows the gym at Nyssa High School.

NYSSA — Local school districts are seeking input from the public when it comes to reopening in the fall.

Schools statewide have been closed since mid-March when the pandemic caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus first started in Oregon and most states in the country.

Shortly after, in early April, distance learning kicked off for schools, with students using a combination of online classes and packet-based work for their spring classes.

Nyssa School District has scheduled a community information and input meeting for Thursday night. The meeting will be held via Zoom (a link to join the meeting can be found on the school district website or on the school district’s social media accounts).

The meeting will give Nyssa School District the opportunity to let the public know what it is working on as far as reopening is concerned, as well as get public input on how they would like the school to reopen.

Vale School District has also announced that it is looking for community input on reopening the schools. A Google form was sent out to parents (and is also available on the district’s Facebook page at facebook.com/valeschooldistrict84) that includes a survey regarding how they would like the school to operate in the fall. The survey is in both English and Spanish.

Reopening guidance

On June 10, the Oregon Department of Education released its first round of guidance for reopening schools in the fall. The guidance opens by noting that there are three different instructional models that school can use starting in the fall:

• On-site: School that would be similar to the way people are accustomed to.

• Distance learning: School that would be similar to what students experienced in the spring.

• Hybrid: Using both on-site and online means to reach all students.

One of the top items from ODE’s guidance includes creating a new classroom capacity, based on having 35 square feet per person. The size of the classroom in this case is only usable space (furniture does not count).

Some other guidance includes creating student cohorts to minimize spread among students and to help with contact tracing, and also having all staff members of schools wearing face protection (masks or face shields).

Schools will also have to keep close track of all students, including questioning students on their personal health and doing temperature checks.

During the June 10 meeting of the Vale School Board of Directors, Superintendent Alisha McBride said it is important to go into the 2020-2021 school year know that school will not be completely normal.

“None of these models look like the educational model that we are used to seeing in our schools,” McBride said. “I think the quicker that we can grasp that the 20-21 school year is going to look different for our staff and students and our community, the faster that we can understand that, the easier this road is going to be.”

Gill said that ODE will be meeting regularly throughout the summer to release further guidance.

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