ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The Roseburg Public Schools board approved changes to their back-to-school plan on Thursday, which includes remote learning and the possibility of in-person instruction later in the school year.
Last week, district officials announced their intention to start the school year with full-time remote learning. However, they did not specify how long it would last.
Under the new plan, the school year will now start on Sept. 8, instead of Aug. 31 as it was originally planned. District staff said this will give teachers, students and parents more time to prepare for distance learning.
They also said they hope to get kindergarten through third-graders back to the classroom by Oct. 5. That would only happen if the district meets certain metrics set by the county. Right now, Douglas County health officials said the county needs fewer than 30 reported cases for a seven-day period in order to bring these grades back. Once they are, the students will likely be split up into smaller groups during the school day.
Officials also hope to bring back students in fourth grade through 12th grade by Nov. 2 if additional metrics are met. There needs to be fewer than 11 reported cases for a seven-day period. Once students in these grades return, they will likely attend a mix of in-person and online classes.
Some board members expressed that this transition could be too much for students in the long run.
“To me it seems way too early that if we’re going to satisfy people so that things are predictable and they can count on things for consistency, we should wait until the end of semester,” said board member Micki Hall.
Board Chair Rebecca Larson said she supports the plan because she believes kids need to be back in the classroom.
“There are kids that even though we’re doing our very best with the remote learning, there are kids that are not in the safest of places, not getting the food they need, not getting the care they need,” said Larson.
The school board acknowledged that this plan could change again depending how COVID-19 continues to impact the community.