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Most who responded to Canby School District's questionnaire want to see a return to traditional school in the fall

PMG FILE PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - The Canby School District surveyed students and parents to help in the process of planning for school in the fall. Most respondents said they want to return to the school buildings.

The Canby School District is planning for school in the fall. And to help that process along, the district sent out a survey to students and families asking questions like, "What are your concerns about physically returning to school in the fall?" and more.

Of everyone, 421 students and 1,039 parents responded for a total of 1,460 responses to the survey. There was representation from all schools in the district, a variety of races and all grade levels from preschool to post-high school.

The survey said that Canby School District is looking at three models: traditional school where all students attend classes on a regular schedule, hybrid learning involving a combination of some in-person learning and distance learning, and distance learning completely off-site and supported by live or recorded lessons.

In response to the big question, "Which model would work best for you/your student?" survey-takers overwhelmingly answered, "traditional school."

A majority 58.36% indicated they wanted to see traditional school in the fall, and 24.58% said they would like to see hybrid learning, with the other options, staggered schedules and distance learning, trailing behind.

COURTESY PHOTO: CSD - Of respondents, 58.36% said they want to see traditional school in the fall, while 24.58% said a hybrid model would work best for them. Meanwhile, 9.56% supported staggered schedules and 7.51% were in favor of distance learning.

But Superintendent Trip Goodall indicated in a letter to families on Friday, June 26 that traditional school likely will not happen.

"According to the guidelines (from Oregon Department of Education), the district is required to provide a minimum of 35 square feet per person while providing at least six feet of physical space between each person," Goodall said. "That means a classroom that once held 25 students is now limited to 14 students…

"With these mandates, we will be unable to bring all students back into our buildings at the same time."

Instead, the district is examining cohort models that limit the number of students in a school, according to Goodall.

The survey also asked what concerns people would have about physically returning to school. The top response, at 44%, was concerns about social distancing. But respondents were concerned about everything, including public health regulations not being followed, schools not being properly disinfected, lack of personal protective equipment, bus safety and other worries.

In response to what people would most like to see in place when schools physically reopen, the No. 1 response at 79.46% was having hand soap and/or hand sanitizer available in classrooms, restrooms and around campus.

Many, 23.84%, which is nearly one-quarter of respondents, do not feel any of the listed safety measures are required for a physical return to school.

Even though most survey-takers want to see kids return to buildings in the fall, the majority indicated that distance learning was not all that bad.

While schools were closed, 49.38% said they were in communication with teachers and staff weekly and almost as many, 43.58%, said they were in communication a few times.

Of respondents, 87.56% said students engaged in their work.

Most respondents, 57.18%, said they thought the workload was reasonable.

Most, 53.96%, thought the difficulty level was just about right.

Most, 63.68%, said students felt supported by their teachers (agreed or strongly agreed).

And most, 62.34%, said students felt supported by their school (agreed or strongly agreed).

Even so, 42.55% either disagreed or strongly disagreed that a distance learning model works well for them or their student compared to 18.05% who agreed or strongly agreed the model works for them. Others, 39.41%, were in the "somewhat" range — either somewhat agreeing or somewhat disagreeing that the model works for them.

The survey is one step in the school district's process of creating a "blueprint for reentry," due to ODE by Aug. 15.

This story has been updated with information from Superintendent Trip Goodall on Friday, June 26.

Kristen Wohlers
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