PHOENIX, Ore. — The Phoenix-Talent School District has released its tentative plan for starting the school year following the implementation of coronavirus metrics by the state of Oregon. School officials issued the update in a message to families on Friday.
"As we respond to the ever-evolving conditions of the pandemic, it seems that change is our only constant," Phoenix-Talent said. "This has tested all of our patience, grace, adaptability, and flexibility. Please know that our district and school teams have been working hard to plan for a return to school that keeps everyone safe and provides high quality learning for each student."
Officials cited the new Oregon benchmarks released on Tuesday, which tie schools' ability to hold in-person classes to both state and county-level coronavirus case levels.
"These metrics will dramatically affect our plans for reopening, and our district and school teams will be working hard to adjust our reopening blueprints according to the new guidance," officials said.
Students from grades K-3 will "most likely" start the year attending class in-person at schools, the District said.
"This decision was based on data that shows children under 10 years old get the virus at lower rates, get less sick, and spread the virus less than older children and adults," Phoenix-Talent said. "We will continue to monitor the data to ensure our county/state meets the criteria to open in person learning for K-3 students."
Students in grades 4-12 will start the year fully online, to begin in-person instruction at least part-time when the state and county COVID-19 levels meet Oregon's metrics.
Those older students will still be taught by their own teachers through "Comprehensive Distance Learning," with the exception of students who have enrolled in the Phoenix-Talent Virtual Academy. Administrators underlined that the remote learning model this year will be very different from what students experienced in the spring.
"We know there is a need for families to plan for what the fall reopening will look like for students. Our district continues to seek clarification from the state on the latest mandates," Phoenix-Talent said. "We want families to prepare for K-12 Comprehensive Distance Learning to start the year, but we are hopeful to have opportunities for K-3, along with certain student populations identified in the new requirements, to meet for in-person learning."
The District is planning for September 9th to be the start date of school regardless of the reopening model.