Teachers, families weigh in on new 4J reopening plan

Some teachers are hoping educators get creative, and some parents are urging families to dig in and do their research on what options districts are offering.

Posted: Aug 5, 2020 6:33 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Parents and educators are weighing in after Eugene School District 4J released a new plan for the upcoming school year.

RELATED: 4J ANNOUNCES ONLINE-ONLY CLASSES THROUGH EARLY DECEMBER

Classes will be held online for the first trimester, which will be at least through Dec. 7.

The plan is to switch to a hybrid method in the second trimester, but this is all dependent on public health conditions.

There may be a few exceptions during the first trimester for students who have special education services or for GED testing, but detailed planning is still underway.

Shanna Davis is a middle school teacher within the 4J district. She misses her students dearly but is choosing to focus on what she can control.

“I hope that as educators we are able to be creative because we know a lot about our students,” Davis said. “We know a lot about our classrooms. We know a lot about our communities and families. I hope that we are able to take the things that worked really well in the spring and capitalize on them. I hope that we're able to take the things that maybe didn't feel as good and make them better because we have time to plan.”

Davis said there is something she would like everyone to keep in mind.

“I want every 4J student, 4J family, 4J parent out there and community members to know that those people who work in our school buildings — we dearly and desperately love your students. We love this community. And we're going to do everything we can to make this fall -- it’s never going to be normal, but we're going to do everything we can to make it the best opportunity we can,”  Davis said.

Shannon Baimbridge is a mother of children in the 4J district. She said the options provided by the district do not work for her family.

Baimbridge’s daughter is a cancer survivor and doesn’t have the option of returning to the school building at this time when the hybrid model begins.

However, she said that the Eugene Online Academy will not meet her daughter’s needs.

“I just really want to encourage parents in our district, all parents to really research the options that 4J is offering -- look at it,” Baimbridge said. “Research it. Dig deeper. Ask the tough questions. Ask the district how they're supporting their children, how they're supporting their children's friends and how they're supporting our staff.”

Baimbridge said that she wants to see more options available for families with children who are high-risk.

“I really encourage parents to just really dig in and see what this will look like for everybody to make it equitable for everyone and to use their voice to speak to the school board and to the district,” Baimbridge said. “Parents really need to speak up right now to support all of our kids.”

Families still have the option to enroll in the Eugene Online Academy. A response is needed by Aug. 10.

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