K-3 Students Will Return to the Classroom in Early October | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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K-3 Students Will Return to the Classroom in Early October

Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Lora Nordquist announced the district will offer hybrid learning earlier than it planned


All Bend-La Pine Schools students in grades K-3 will begin to return to in-person hybrid classes during the week of Oct. 5. The announcement came Tuesday evening from Superintendent Lora Nordquist who stated that COVID-19 cases improved faster than the district anticipated. Originally, BLPS planned to wait until late October to decide whether to bring students back into the classroom.

Bend-La Pine Schools students in grades K-3 will return to in-person instruction two days a week, beginning Oct. 5 - PIXABAY
  • Pixabay
  • Bend-La Pine Schools students in grades K-3 will return to in-person instruction two days a week, beginning Oct. 5

BLPS K-3 students will participate in an orientation during the week of Oct. 5 before the ongoing hybrid schedule begins. They will come into school for one day and meet some of the students who will be in their cohort.

Then, beginning Oct. 12, K-3 students will back into the classroom two full days a week on alternating days. Teachers will lead distance learning during the other three days. Half the kids will come into the classroom Monday and Thursday, and the other half will come in Tuesday and Friday. Students will be divided into two groups by last name but parents may request a different schedule based on their childcare needs. All students will learn from home on Wednesdays.

The schools will provide transportation and meals for students on their ‘in-person’ school days, and grab-and-go meals during their online days.

Students in grades 4-12 will continue online learning for now, with October 26 as the first possible day in an in-person hybrid model. The district will announce any plan to move to balanced/hybrid for grades 4-12 by October 12 at the latest.

“We know that for many of our learners, especially our youngest students and those with special learning needs, distance learning can never be as effective as in-person instruction,” Nordquist wrote in a letter to families she sent Tuesday night. “We are ready and eager to get our youngest students back to the classroom safely, and soon, in our balanced/hybrid setting.”

Meanwhile, at least one K-3 teacher was frustrated by the announcement, stating in a letter to the school board that they’d been working long hours to prepare for the online-only model.

“I have barely slept, nor have I have stopped forcibly propelling myself forward,” the anonymous teacher wrote in the letter. “And I was barely hanging on prior to receiving Lora’s message to staff this afternoon…

“The school district has gone too far,” they wrote wrote. “The school district is asking too much of teachers K-3. That there might not be many teachers who are ready to state this fact speaks to our incredible and habitual ability to preserve through the impossible, [but] I cannot stay silent. Changing the plan on us two days into the school year is extremely manipulative and speaks volumes about the district prioritizing parent and community optics more than the needs—if not health—of K-3 staff.”

“I totally agree that dropping this news on people the second day of school was far from ideal," Nordquist said during the BLPS board meeting Tuesday night in response to the letter. "On the other hand, what I heard from teachers last week who were working with us is to tell people sooner rather than later, to maximize time for planning.”

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