Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
January 28, 2021
By Pat Edwards
We in Oregon are so fortunate to have a much lower COVID-19 positive test rate than most of the other U.S. states. I believe that I read this week that we are ranked 49th out of 50. Lane County’s rate is decreasing, although we are still categorized in the “extreme” group within the state.
This gives me hope that, along with the proposed increase in vaccines coming to Oregon, we will see a continued decrease in positive cases. Jim and I are in the first two senior groups who will be eligible for the vaccine, but I’m glad that a priority has been placed ahead of us on school teachers, as essential workers, so that schools can begin to reopen.
We had mixed feelings when we heard that the Crow-Applegate-Lorane School District had decided to reopen the Applegate Elementary School for in-person classes… especially when there haven’t been as many vaccines administered as we had hoped there would be by now. But I also know that some of the younger students, especially, are not getting the educational experience at home that they would in a classroom.
The schedule that’s in place for Applegate Elementary is encouraging. It’s obvious that plans for the safety of the teachers, students and others who work on site have been carefully worked out by the administration. Here’s the schedule as announced:
K-5 students will attend in-person classes from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. four days a week—Monday through Thursdays—and will be assigned to small, stable groups called “cohorts.”
Because it’s a large class, the older students in Grade 6 will be assigned to two other cohorts. Cohort A for this age group will attend in-person classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., while Cohort B attends Tuesdays and Thursdays at the same time. The afternoons for each of these days will be used for distance-learning from home.
All students in these cohorts will be medically screened on arrival, follow strict social distancing guidelines and be required to wear masks at all times.
There will be no in-person classes on Fridays. They are being reserved for staff planning and grading for both in-person and on-line classes. They are also times when the teachers can work with distance-learning students and communicate on-line with parents and students to answer questions and/or help work out concerns.
Some of the safety rules put in place for the duration of the pandemic is that parents/visitors will not be permitted inside the school (except the office area). A mail slot is available for the drop off of checks, homework, paperwork or other transactions.
Purchased meals are “sack lunch” style. Breakfast is free for all students. All meals will be eaten in classrooms. If a child brings lunch, the parents are asked to send food that is easy-to-open and doesn’t require heating. Classrooms do not have access to microwave ovens.
Other safety protocols involve the health of the in-person students and their arrival and departure. All of the guidelines can be accessed on the district’s website at http://www.cal.k12.or.us.
To quote Malcom McRae in a letter to parents and patrons posted this week on the district’s website:
“Opening Applegate Elementary School safely and keeping it open will depend on the faithful execution of district health and safety protocols and the efforts of parents to make sure that kids are healthy when sent to school.”
Thank you to the administration, board and teachers of the Crow-Applegate-School District #66, for working so hard to provide this means of allowing the lives of some of our district students and parents to begin their journey back to some semblance of “normal.” It’s an important first step.