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Schools Prepare for Return to Normal

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MEDFORD, Ore – For the first time in more than two weeks, no shouts can be heard and no picket lines can be seen outside Medford schools. A deal struck between the school district and teachers’ union late Friday night will allow schools to go back to their normal schedules on Monday.

But that gives teachers little time for celebration.

“This is huge, I don’t know that there will be anything that’s seamless,” said Lisa North, an instructional coach and MEA representative. “It’s a big move just to physically move back into the classroom.”

On Saturday, union teachers began the process of dissolving strike headquarters and thanking the people who supported them. Sunday afternoon they go back to their classrooms to figure out what was taught while they were gone and how to pick up from there.

Meanwhile, contract business goes on. Sunday evening the majority of the teachers’ union members will get their first look at what came out of those bargaining talks.

“We need to get contracts in the hands of members so that they can look over that and make an informed vote whenever we do have a ratification vote,” said North.

But despite the significant work that remains, both sides say they see the crisis as over.

And that means healing can now begin.

“It’ll take time for students, it’ll take time for teachers, it’ll take time for district personnel,” said North. “There’s repair that will have to be done, there’s no way around that.”

North says they plan to hold an all-member vote on contract ratification sometime later in the week. The school board will be doing the same. Both sides say they expect the agreement to be voted through.