GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Grants Pass School District will abandon its plans to bring more students back into classrooms as rising coronavirus cases make the goal untenable, even with Oregon's now-loosened school metrics.
When they were released three weeks ago, Oregon's metrics had Josephine County in the "green" category due to a prolonged period of low case rates. Typically, the green level means that students of all grade levels are cleared to learn in-person. But increasing cases had the County in the "yellow" — mandating a gradual phase-in — within a week.
As of Tuesday, Josephine County had reached the "orange" level, GPSD said in a statement. Under Oregon's metrics, that means schools should be ready to transition back to comprehensive distance learning.
According to the District, officials from Josephine County Public Health have told them that the county is now on a clear path to "red" with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up. Red means a full return to distance learning for all students K-12, with the exception of limited in-person instruction.
Starting November 30, then, GPSD says that it will move all students back to distance learning. For K-3 students, who have been attending in-person classes, distance learning begins on December 1. Higher grades will continue with their distance learning schedule on Monday.
“I know this news will come as a huge relief for some, and a giant disappointment to others,” Superintendent Kirk Kolb said. “There is no perfect solution for balancing health & safety, education, and all the unique situations each of our families face.
“I do know our staff will continue to provide the best possible education in this remote setting, and we will be flexible and gracious with one another as we navigate these difficult times.”