GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Three Rivers School District announced its back-to-school plan on Wednesday, which includes an online-only start to the year for grades 4-12 and in-person classes for K-3 students.
Based on the coronavirus metrics laid out by state officials, schools are currently unable to start the year with a full in-person attendance based on Oregon's COVID-19 test positivity rate alone. Grades K-3, however, are permitted to return if county metrics are favorable — which is currently the case in Josephine County, unlike neighboring Jackson County.
“We started this summer developing a strategy for bringing our students back to campus, but the required state health metrics did not allow us to reopen our buildings to all our kids,” said TRSD Superintendent Dave Valenzuela. “It is disappointing, and will be a challenge for many of our families. However, we will be able to serve our K-3 students with on-site instruction and it’s our hope they will be an example to show we can engage in safe, effective on-site learning for all our students.”
Like most other districts, Three Rivers will also offer a fully online option for families that don't want to send their kids back to school at present. Three Rivers School District Virtual Online School (TVOS) is a "full-time online school experience for all grades K-12."
“We have heard from a number of families that have reservations about their kids returning to campus, even when the county health metrics are met,” said Valenzuela. “To meet their needs, we created TVOS to provide a high-quality education for students who want to remain home.”
Three Rivers said that it would revisit a full return to on-site learning for upper grades in October, ahead of the second quarter. Administrators plan to watch health metrics and announce a decision by October 15.
“Three Rivers School District is committed to getting our students back in the classroom and supporting our families in the interim,” said Valenzuela. “We can’t wait to see all our students back.”
The school year begins September 8 for all 4-12th grade students with distance learning. K-3 students will begin with a staggered schedule on September 8 before beginning a full four-day weekly schedule on September 21.