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COVID-19 protocols, public comments and Oppenlander property sale agreement are hot topics at the Jan. 10 school board meeting.  

The West Linn-Wilsonville School District is prepared to move to virtual learning — if need be.

On Monday, Jan. 10, the WL-WV School Board convened to discuss updates to COVID-19 protocols as schools across the state transition to virtual learning due to the highly transmissible omicron variant and staff shortages.

"We are all hands on deck," Superintendent Kathy Ludwig said, adding that every morning the district works together to fill absences to keep schools open and in-person. She said that some administrators are even filling in for other schools, and principals have swapped their desk roles for classrooms as a result of the teacher shortage that is exacerbated by rising COVID cases.

"You've got a secretary at one school that helps out at another school … principals teaching in classrooms. All of this is to keep school open, and to avoid going to remote learning. And we've begun to see in the news that there are school districts that, despite all these heroic efforts, just don't have the staff," Ludwig said. "As a school district, we've been able to kind of piece things together. But it could be that we get to a point where we need to shut down a school or a pair of schools temporarily and do some remote learning."

However, the district is prepared if a school or two needs to temporarily switch to virtual learning if adequate staffing becomes a large enough issue.

Ludwig said that in the event of a school switching to virtual, staff and students would have a two-day grace period to adjust before virtual learning would begin. Instruction would be synchronous and asynchronous.

Meal service would still be available but limited to pick-up only at schools.

"Yes, we're prepared for the event (of moving virtual), but we're not there yet," said Ludwig.

In efforts to identify more cases, Ludwig announced that on Wednesday, Jan. 11, the district will provide at-home COVID-19 tests to families that are a part of the screening program.

In alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the school district will now use the phrase 'up-to-date vaccinations' to refer to a fully vaccinated individual, instead of 'fully vaccinated.'

Updates to public comment policy

During the Dec. 9 board meeting, members had a lengthy discussion around Policy BDHH, which tackles public comment at school board meetings. Ludwig worked with the district's legal counsel to draft another policy that correlated with some of the board's concerns, like limiting public comment that does not have to do with an agenda item.

The new policy states that written comments will always be accepted at school board meetings. However, the oral comment is limited to three minutes and to certain meetings such as special meetings that do not require any motion from the board. Community members will also no longer need to share their address, but rather their city of origin.

The board approved the tweaks.

Oppenlander property for sale

Pat McGough, chief operating officer, proposed the authorization to execute a purchase and sales agreement between the school district and the city of West Linn for the 10-acre property at 1275 Rosemont Road, otherwise known as the Oppenlander property.

The board approved the resolution.

When the district announced it planned to put the property — which is used by local sports teams and is part of the school's land bank — on the market, the community advocated for it to sell the property to the city to be used as a park. Now that the two sides have come to an agreement, the decision will be up to voters in a May bond ballot measure.

On Aug. 18, the school district entered into a non-binding letter of intent agreement with the city of West Linn to develop a purchase and sales agreement for the property. In the letter, the district's legal counsel found the proposed terms and conditions acceptable, and McGough said it would be in the district's best interest to sell the property as the district no longer needs it for school use.

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