The Bend-La Pine Schools district will move to a modified schedule as cases among young people rise, even as Deschutes County is lowered from Extreme Risk to High Risk in the governor's risk-protection framework.
In the High-Risk category, people will be able to eat at restaurants, exercise at gyms and go to indoor entertainment establishments at a limited capacity with a maximum of 50 people inside at once, or 25% capacity for restaurants and 10% at gyms and entertainment venues. The lower assessed risk doesn’t stem from a significant decrease in cases, but rather statewide hospitalization metrics.
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Fifteen counties, including Crook and Deschutes, moved into the Extreme Risk category on Friday, April 30 before the reversal of the decision was announced on Wednesday, May 5. The new High-Risk category will go into effect Friday, May 7.
The announcement comes just one day before the interim superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools district introduced modified schedules due to the spread of cases among students and staff.
“The number of students and staff who are unable to attend and work in our schools is at an all-time high. Hundreds of students throughout the district have been quarantined as a result of rules that call for quarantine of ‘close contact’ to those with COVID-19,” Interim Superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools Lora Nordquist wrote in an email to families.
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High schoolers at Bend Senior High, Mountain View, Summit and La Pine High School will be released at 1:35 pm, 40 minutes earlier than the regular time, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. From 1:35pm-3:45 teachers will focus on quarantined students or those who need extra support. There’s no change to the schedule on Wednesday, or at the smaller high schools Realms, Skyline or Bend Tech Academy.
At Cascade, High Desert, Pacific Crest and Sky View middle schools, students will have unaltered schedules except for Wednesday, when they will work remotely. The remote days are meant to give extra time to students for tutoring and support. The smaller middle schools, Three Rivers, Realms and La Pine Middle School, will continue full in-person learning.
“Our goal is to keep our schools open for in-person instruction, so long as we feel we can do so safely and effectively, Nordquist said. “Moving to distancing learning for a period of time is a district decision that will be made on a school-by-school basis in response to large number of cases or quarantined students at that school.”