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All grade levels may be back on campus soon

By Cindy Yingst, Sunday, September 13, 2020

Warrenton’s youngest students begin attending on-campus classes on Monday.

Older students could follow a week later, Superintendent Tom Rogozinski told school board members at their meeting Wednesday night.

The COVID-19 metrics – an equation that the state uses to determine when students can return to in-person learning – have been improving.

The metrics require no more than 10 active cases per 100,000 population for all students to return. If there are more than 10 cases but fewer than 30, only students in kindergarten through grade three can return.

In Clatsop County, that means no more than four active COVID cases in a week. Three new cases were reported Wednesday.

But numbers have been low enough for a while to allow those in grades K-3 to return regardless.

“If the metrics stay below 10 (per 100,000) for one more week, students in kindergarten through grade 12 could come back Sept. 21,” Rogozinski said.

Here’s the current plan:

** Grades K-3 begin classes Monday, Sept. 14, at Warrenton Grade School. They’ll attend four days a week.

** Grades 4-12 begin distance learning Monday, Sept. 14. Unless the metrics change, they’ll return to in-person classes from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. starting Monday, Sept. 21, attending two days a week (half of them Mondays and Wednesdays, and the other half Tuesdays and Thursdays). They’ll have distance learning on the days they’re not on campus.

** Grades 6-12 begin distance learning Monday, Sept. 14. Unless the metrics change, they’ll return to in-person classes from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. two days a week, staggering the student body so only half are on campus at a time.

** Students in all grade levels will participate in distance learning on Fridays.

** Bus routes won’t change, but there will be assigned seats and students will be kept in cohorts – fraternizing only within small designated groups.

** Administrators developed an online-only school called WAVE and 353 children are enrolled. They begin classes Monday and will remain online unless parents choose to move them to in-person schooling.

** The district is working on a long-term rental agreement with Camp Kiwanilong whereby any student in grades 4-8 can attend outdoor school on the days they’re not on campus. The outdoor program would have staff who help students with online learning, physical education, art, and outdoor science projects. It’s hoped the outdoor campus can open Oct. 1.

Since schools were closed in March, bus drivers and cafeteria workers made and delivered 77,210 food sacks filled with breakfast and lunch, district Business Manager Mike Moha said. The meals were delivered daily by buses that logged 2,200 miles.

Beginning Sept. 21, the meals will be available for pickup at Warrenton Grade School to anyone age 1 through 18.

Warrenton-Hammond Healthy Kids, a nonprofit group, has given away 3,300 backpacks filled with food. The backpacks were delivered by the district’s transportation staff.

As of Wednesday, 970 students had enrolled in Warrenton schools. Rogozinski described the work administrators have done to develop both an online school as well as a whole new way to teaching.

“All the time we’ve been feeling like, is any of this ever going to be certain?” he said. “I believe there’s a healthy, healthy majority that really wants students back on campus, in classes, in front of our teachers. … It’s really a challenging balancing act.”

High school Principal Josh Jannusche said the summer planning process has been complicated by “the different levels where kids will be learning, the staff learning how to teach WAVE, hybrid learning and in-person all at the same time. We’re all changing and learning along the way.”

The district is charged with ensuring students continue learning despite the changes.

“It’s been a long haul,” Rogozinski said. “It’s months of this. But it’s exciting in some ways.

Still, no hybrid model is going to replace five good days in front of a teacher.”


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