April 13 return set for high school and middle school students

On Friday, March 5, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced an executive order for public school students to return to the classroom.

“The science is very, very clear: with proper safety measures in place, there is a low risk of COVID-19 transmission in school. Oregon parents can be confident about sending their children back to a classroom learning environment,” Brown said. 

Brown directed all Oregon public schools to offer universal access to in-person instruction on or before the weeks of March 29 for K-5 students and April 19 for students in grades 6-12. SKPS assistant superintendent Kraig Sproles notified the school board on Tuesday, March 9 that the district is ahead of schedule in meeting those dates. 

“We have a point of celebration about getting our kids back in school,” Sproles said. “We were a little bit ahead of that trajectory.”

Last week, SKPS welcomed back K-1 students into their school building for hybrid, in-person learning.

“We had lots of kids in our buildings this last week, which was really, really exciting,” SKPS superintendent Christy Perry said. 

Earlier this week, second and third students made their return to schools — fourth and fifth grade students will come back next week.

“I don’t think we can underplay how much work that has been done for our teachers and our principals,” Sproles said. “We have been preparing for this moment for many, many months and it has paid off.”

SKPS was the first large district in the state to have their elementary students return to school.

“It was really encouraging for our secondary leaders and teachers to see the amount of success we had with bringing back our elementary students. It gave us a little bit of a leg up when it comes to planning,” assistant superintendent Iton Udosenata said.

After having some uncertainty a couple of weeks ago, Udosenata told the board that secondary schools (middle schools and high schools) do indeed have the capacity to serve students in a hybrid model — meaning that students would attend school two days per week and then do online learning for the remainder of the week. 

Secondary school staff members are scheduled to return to their classrooms by Monday, April 5 and students will come back for in-person instruction beginning on Tuesday, April 13.

“We are really looking forward to bringing our secondary students back,” Udosenata said.