GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Grants Pass School Board has passed a resolution to ask Governor Brown for reduced spacing requirements in classrooms, part of a growing push to eschew hybrid learning in favor of a return to full-time in-person learning.
The Klamath County School District Board passed a similar resolution last week, lobbying the Governor and the Oregon Department of Education to reduce the 35-square-foot per student requirement to 9 square feet effective April 5.
Like KCSD's, the Grants Pass resolution urges Governor Brown to reevaluate school requirements "to allow all students in grades K-12 the option to return to in-person instruction full time," also with the reduced social distancing requirement of 9 square feet.
The resolution asks that adjustments be made in counties where school employees have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, where health and safety requirements are observed, if there is no confirmed spread within the particular school, and where the local public health authority has approved the school's blueprint.
"GPSD has proven our commitment to work with Josephine County Public Health to ensure we are following all safety protocols and are able to quickly identify staff, students, and cohorts who have been exposed to or are confirmed to have COVID-19, connect them with medical professionals, and remove them and any 'close contacts' from the school community, thereby helping slow the spread in the community," the resolution states.
GPSD's Board cited the mental and emotional health of students as motivating factors, in addition to setbacks caused by distance learning, the pivotal role of teachers as reporters of potential abuse, and the loss of connections with caring adults.
The letter that will be sent to Governor Brown is still in development, and a District representative said that it should be ready later this week.