District sent out survey to families to gauge return rates; will discuss plans at board meeting.

Canby School District is working to finalize hybrid learning plans after Gov. Kate Brown's announcement over winter break that school districts can make their own decisions about returning to school in-person.

On the first day back after winter break, Monday, Jan. 4, Canby Schools Superintendent Trip Goodall sent an update to families saying the district is watching for updated health protocols from the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority.

Goodall said he would be meeting with county health authorities to help determine the best way to return safely.

"After I meet with state education leaders, local health authorities, teacher leadership and district staff this week, we will finalize our plans around in-person learning and share a timeline with all families," Goodall said in the letter, ending with, "Thank you for your partnership as we have navigated the challenges related to COVID-19. We look forward to the opportunity to begin transitioning students back into our classrooms."

Then on Wednesday, Jan. 6, the district sent a survey to school families to determine how many students in grades K-6 intend to return to the school buildings when the opportunity is available.

"We understand not every family will be comfortable sending their students back to our classrooms," Goodall said.

The district will use the survey results, due by Jan. 13, to plan for staffing and student cohorts.

School districts are under increasing pressure to open their doors to students. A Facebook group called "Clack to School," which formed to encourage Oregon leadership to reopen in-person school in Clackamas County, has about 3,800 members.

A newer Facebook group, "Open Canby Schools," is specifically dedicated to getting students into Canby school classrooms. It has more than 300 members. Recently, page administrator Tyler Smith posted a "petition to open Canby schools."

"We the parents, teachers, students, business owners, coaches, priests, pastors, taxpayers and other residents of Canby hereby DEMAND that Superintendent Goodall re-open Canby Schools now," the petition reads. "The Oregon Governor has authorized schools to be open and we agree! We all have our different reasons but agree the schools and facilities should be open for use. If you will not, then we ask the school board to find someone who will."

Lake Oswego was among the first public school districts to reveal plans to return to in-person learning. Superintendent Lora de la Cruz announced Tuesday, Jan. 5, that the district's goal is to open the first week of February. Like Canby, other school districts, including Molalla and Colton, have so far been less specific about a timeline.

Goodall will discuss Canby's reopening plans at the virtual school board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7. The public can join via Zoom using the link

Kristen Wohlers
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