School district extends food program in light of prolonged closure
With an extension to the statewide school closures enacted on March 17, many districts are scrambling to find ways to serve their students in any way possible. The executive order by Gov. Kate Brown directs all schools to remain closed through at least April 28.
Brown had closed school for two weeks as a way to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has become a global pandemic.
Under the new restrictions, schools will remain closed through April 28. School districts are to continue to provide students and their families with the supplemental services families have come to rely on, such as meals, mental health services through the Oregon Department of Education and childcare for emergency first responders and essential health care personnel.
Districts are to pay employees during the closure, Brown said.
"I do not take the decision to extend school closures lightly," Brown said. "This will have real impacts on Oregon's students, parents, and educators. But we must act now to flatten the curve and slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission in Oregon, otherwise we face a higher strain on our medical system and greater loss of life to this disease."
Locally at the Oregon Trail School District headquartered in Sandy, this extension means the district will also extend its sack lunch program, offering meals every weekday through April 28, now including spring break.
District staff will also offer a sack breakfast with the sack lunches, beginning Friday, March 20.
"Our hope it to continue to provide resources for our families and supplemental education and learning supports throughout the closure," said Superintendent Aaron Bayer on Wednesday, March 18. "We understand how difficult this will be for our students and families. We will continue to work with the Oregon Department of Education and public health partners for guidance moving forward."
State leaders in education are still working on defining what the supplemental education will look like.
At this point, it is important to note that the Oregon Department of Education and local districts are looking at supplemental education and not full instruction.
"There have been a number of well thoughtout questions regarding instruction going forward," Bayer noted. "A number of the suggestions may prove inequitable for marginalized and historically under-represented students. The state is working diligently to find answers to these questions."
High school seniors — and their ability to meet graduation requirements — are a top priority for the district and state educational leaders.
"Moving forward our focus is going to be on helping the seniors cross that finish line as they've worked hard for the last four years to do," Bayer said.
However, a plan for how to address the loss of instructional time is a state-level decision and still under consideration.
For those in need of the sack lunch program, here is that schedule:
An Oregon Trail student may pick up a grab-and-go lunch from a handful of locations throughout the mandated closure days for the schools.
The pick-up time slot at Naas, Sandy High and Welches schools is from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and lunches can be picked up at the bus loop at Sandy High School, the Welches School entrance and the Naas Elementary School entrance.
Staff will also deliver sack lunches by bus to the following bus pick-up/drop-off locations:
n Pioneer Mobile Park at 11:45 a.m.
n Barlow Trail Mobile Home Park at 11:45 a.m.
n Hood Course Acres, Welches at noon
n Vista Loop Apartments at 12:15 p.m.
n Big Valley Woods at 12:15 p.m.
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