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The state allows an exception to the health metrics for 'limited in-person instruction'

While the general student population of Lake Oswego School District cannot return to in-person learning until Clackamas County meets the state's heath metrics of less than 30 positive cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people and 5% test positivity, there is an exception for students who meet certain criteria.

The Oregon Department of Education allows for an exception to the health metrics for what's referred to as "limited in-person instruction."

This small group instruction is supplemental to comprehensive distance learning.

Students may qualify for this exception if they are English language learners, need help accessing online instruction, qualify for special education services or are in a program that requires more hands-on learning experiences.

Director of Communications Mary Kay Larson said districtwide, on any given day of the week, 15 to 30 students are attending limited in-person instruction.

Last week, Lake Grove Elementary School welcomed back its first student for limited in-person instruction.

"As we know, the comprehensive distance learning has not proven to be effective for all students," Principal Scott Schinderle said.

He said that within five minutes of this student entering the building, they had a pencil in hand, had written their name on a sheet of paper and had begun learning.

"All smiles and it was fantastic to see the student's immediate response," he said.

Schinderle said he expects two more students to join the cohort next week.

"There are some criteria we have to follow," Schinderle said. Students can only be on the premises for a maximum of two hours each day and student cohorts cannot exceed 10 students.

The school also has new health and safety protocols for limited in-person instruction.

Upon arrival, the student or their parent must fill out a health questionnaire that asks if they've been exposed to the virus or have symptoms.

After that, the student will sanitize their hands and once inside the classroom, will wash their hands with soap and water. Students are required to wear a mask or face shield.

Staff has also reviewed updated health and safety training with the district's nurse team.

"We are off to a good start and we are feeling good," Schinderle said.

The West Linn-Wilsonville School District has also started bringing students in for limited in-person instruction.

Director of Communications Andrew Kilstrom said the district is starting small and one of their priorities has been students with a poor Internet connection.

This week they've had three students come in for evaluations and two who are returning on an ongoing basis.

"We are hoping to grow that number," he said.

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