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509-J and Culver school district leaders make plans for students to return to class full time

Students in Jefferson County could soon be sitting in classrooms full time.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced two days before Christmas that state metrics for school reopening would move from mandatory to advisory on Jan 1.

"While the metrics have not been removed, the ability to work together to improve the safety of the schools has increased for local governments and agencies," Jefferson County 509-J School District Superintendent Ken Parshall wrote in a letter to district families on Dec. 30.

Brown would like to have all schools back in class by Feb. 15.

Parshall said district administration began meeting Monday, after students returned from their two-week winter break, to create a safe and staged reopening strategy.

He said implementation of an effective plan will depend on coordination between the school district, Jefferson County Public Health, Indian Health Services, and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs COVID-19 Response Team. He also stressed the importance of the community continuing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The district will remain in Comprehensive Distance Learning this week. Limited In-Person Instruction for select students will resume onsite next week.

Parshall said the district will gradually build the Limited In-Person Instruction process as they plan choices for students to return to an onsite learning model, while continuing to have the CASA online learning option available for those students not ready to return to onsite. Additional information will be provided to families later this week.

Culver School District students returned to class in their previous two-hour cohort model on Monday, Jan. 4 and will continue through. Jan. 15.

"Our hope is to start full-day, onsite instruction on Jan. 19," reported Culver School District Superintendent Stefanie Garber. "This timeline gives 25 days after Christmas gatherings and 19 days after New Year's gatherings for post-holiday exposure to be realized if there is any."

Culver School District leaders will continue making plans to reopen full time and will continue to be in communication with Jefferson County Public Health. The district will notify district families when plans are in place.

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