January 29, 2021
Dear GBSD Community,
On January 22 we shared with you the changes made to the Oregon Department of Education's (ODE) Ready Schools Safe Learners (RSSL) document which guides schools in providing instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, ODE has published five points of clarification in regards to these changes and shared it with district leaders.
Over the last week the school board has reviewed those changes, as well as input from the community. In addition, we continue to work closely with our local public health authority. In the RSSL document the advised case count metrics changed, however the required health and safety protocols are still in place.
Update on advisory school health metrics
At the school board work session on January 28, the school district reviewed the advisory school health safety metrics which guide districts in determining when and how to re-open schools.
As of January 29, the current case rates per 100,000 people in Clackamas and Multnomah counties are 226 and 243, respectively. This places the district in the elementary on-site/hybrid transition phase.
Implementation of Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI)
The school board voted to direct the school district to begin phasing in Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI) after the second dose of the vaccine for COVID-19 has been made available to staff who would support the program. School staff became eligible to receive the vaccine the week of January 25. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is phasing in the distribution of vaccines to school staff.
Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI) is an on-campus model supported by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) LIPI and allows small groups of students who have been identified at the school level based on data and targeted needs to receive individualized support for academics, social-emotional needs, internet connectivity, and so on. LIPI is in addition to comprehensive distance learning. LIPI will be phased in by groups over time.
Required Health and Safety Protocols for LIPI:
-LIPI cohorts consist of no more than 20 students
-Each LIPI session will run for two hours
-All students and staff in LIPI must observe mask, physical distancing requirements, and safety protocols and procedures
Students identified to participate in LIPI will be notified by their school.
Students are not required to participate in LIPI.
Hybrid Model Planning: Elementary Level
We continue to prepare to resume in-person instruction through a hybrid model. As we start LIPI, staff will begin implementing the required health and safety protocols on site with small groups of students which supports a smooth transition to the more comprehensive hybrid model when the school health safety metrics allow. A survey of elementary school parents shows approximately 40% of families have chosen to stay with comprehensive distance learning for the remainder of the school year and 60% want to resume in-person instruction. Utilizing a hybrid model at the elementary level would require adjusted staffing and students will most likely change teachers.
Hybrid Model Planning: Secondary Level
When it comes to implementing a hybrid model at the secondary level, the state’s RSSL guidance requires that students may not interact with more than 100 other students at school. This makes a hybrid model much more complicated to implement in our middle schools and high schools. We continue to consider scenarios as we work through the constraints we would face through a hybrid model.
Moving forward we will continue to update families and staff by email and the information will be posted on the district website. Schools will also provide school-specific information to their families.
Between now and our next update, if you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to submit them to our online listening system “Let’s Talk”
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and continued support as we work to keep you informed during a very fluid situation.
Gresham-Barlow School District