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No start date yet for middle, high school pupils in accelerated re-opening plans

COURTESY PHOTO: CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT  - Centennial School District Superintendent Paul Coakley visits with students before the pandemic shut down schools across Oregon in March of 2020.

Centennial School District, like others, accelerated its plans to bring students back to classrooms after Gov. Kate Brown gave schools a deadline earlier this month.

Brown said Friday, March 5, that schools must reopen classrooms to elementary students during or before the week of March 29 and middle and high school students the week of April 19.

Centennial had earlier said during these timeframes, it would only offer limited in-person instruction to a small number of students who were struggling the most with remote learning.

"This change significantly alters those plans and processes," Centennial Superintendent Paul Coakley said in a letter to parents.

The Centennial district said it would meet the new deadlines, although some details have yet to be disclosed.

Because of distancing requirements, all the students in a school cannot be in buildings at one time. So schools are offering what is called a hybrid model, with about half of a student body in the building at a time.

Students in Centennial's seven elementary schools will be divided into two groups, or cohorts. The first group to come back will be kindergarten through sixth graders in cohort B on Thursday, April 1. Elementary kids in cohort A will start Monday, April 4.

The return plan calls for students in cohort A to learn in classrooms Monday and Tuesday mornings and Cohort B on Thursday and Friday mornings. Wednesdays all students will learn remotely.

On Monday and Tuesday afternoons cohort A students will work on their own on assignments and projects and cohort B pupils will have class online with their teacher. On Thursday and Friday afternoons, that will be reversed.

Students at Butler Creek, Oliver, Parklane and Pleasant Valley elementary schools will be in buildings from 8:20 to 11:17 a.m. Meadow, Patrick Lynch and Powell Butte elementary school students will start at 8:50 a.m. and go home at 11:57 a.m.

Students will get a "grab and go" lunch the two days they are in school. Other districts also are doing take-out style meals so students won't have to remove their masks to eat at their desks. The district will continue to provide meals to students for the days they are not in school.

Centennial has not yet disclosed start dates for middle or high school students, who have to be back in classrooms by the week of April 19. The middle and high schoolers also will be broken into two groups.

Centennial Middle School students will be in the building from 9:35 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and high school students will attend from 8:10 a.m. to noon.

Other local districts had earlier announced plans and students in the Corbett School District are already in classrooms in the hybrid model.

Gresham-Barlow School District will bring students back, starting with kindergarten and first grade kids after spring break, on Thursday, April 1. Reynolds School District will begin returning kids to the classroom the week of April 5-9, also starting with the smallest scholars.

At Centennial and other districts, families who choose to stick with remote learning can continue that.

Centennial also created a separate online school called Centennial Virtual Academy at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year and the students who enrolled in that school will remain there for the rest of the school year.

Said Coakley, "We will give ourselves and each other grace to navigate this ever-changing landscape. As a district, we work to provide our students with the support needed to be successful."

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