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Estacada schools will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines from Oregon Health Authority, Department of Education

COURTESY PHOTO: ESTACADA SCHOOL DISTRICT - Estacada High School students complete a health screening questionnaire before entering the building.

Estacada school leaders announced that the district will likely return to five days of in-person instruction beginning next school year.

"It is important to us that we give you an appropriate amount of time to plan for next year with an accurate idea of what next year may look like," the district stated in the announcement about the 2021-22 school year.

Maggie Kelly, communications director for the district, said bringing students back on campus full time will be beneficial for both academics and social emotional needs.

"We've done great at preventing gaps from widening, but distance learning does create challenges for some students," she said. "We're excited to create a more stable environment."

Similar to previous school years, Wednesdays will be an early release day for students.

"The five-day school week recognizes and honors our board of directors approved school calendar that runs through the 2022-2023 school year," district leaders said. "This calendar was created through a great deal of research and collaboration with our Calendar Committee, a committee of employees, families, and students. We look forward to returning to the schedule, as well as maximizing our on-campus learning time."

At the beginning of 2021, the Estacada School District transitioned to hybrid learning. Because of COVID-19 safety guidelines, the district started the 2020-21 year with comprehensive distance learning.

Kelly said the district will follow the latest safety guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education. If face masks are still recommended this fall, they will be a requirement in school buildings.

The most recent COVID-19 protocols recommend 3 feet of distance around students, which Estacada schools will follow. In places like gymnasiums and cafeterias, there will be 6 feet of distance between students.

"While on-campus learning still may be adjusted to accommodate COVID-19, we feel that this outcome is unlikely, and it is our full intention to offer 100% on-campus learning next school year," the district's announcement said.

On Monday, April 26, Estacada middle and high school students who wished to were able to return to campus full time. Around 15% of secondary students have chosen to continue with virtual learning.

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