MEDFORD, Ore. — School districts throughout the state of Oregon are scrambling this week after Governor Kate Brown and state officials announced new coronavirus metrics that will determine when schools can allow in-person learning.
Superintendent of the Medford School District Dr. Bret Champion joined NewsWatch 12 following the press briefing to describe how his district is adjusting to the changes.
Like many districts, MSD already had tentative back-to-school plans in place, including full in-person classes for K-6th grade and a hybrid model for 7-12th. The revelation of Oregon's new metrics may dramatically alter that plan.
A previous update to state guidance included face covering requirements for all students in Oregon.
"As of today (and please know things change quickly!), grades four through 12 will be fully virtual," Dr. Champion said in a letter to MSD families. "Students will be taught by their teachers from the school the students attend."
Because Jackson County's COVID-19 numbers are currently below the metric threshold, schools would have the option of offering in-person classes to grades K-3.
"We will be studying our options and sharing updated and detailed information in the coming days," Dr. Champion said. "We know that this continues to be a roller coaster for our families and staff. Please know that we continue to work to ensure that our system provides the best possible education for ALL our students, while protecting the health of our students, our staff, and our community."
MSD will be holding a virtual town hall on August 5 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the evolving plans.
"In the Medford School District, we have a shared vision: ALL are learning and learning is for ALL," Champion said. "That has never been more true than right now. This isn’t going to be perfect, but we will do our very best (along with you) to support students learning and wellbeing as we work toward opening this unprecedented school year."