Lake County School District #7 Supt. Michael Carter is working to make sure that academic instruction begins on Wednesday, Sept. 9, for students and that it is in person, though under the current metrics from the Governor’s Office that will be difficult.
Under the metrics released by the Governor counties must have a case rate of 10 or less per 100,000 people in the proceeding seven days and positive tests are 5% or less as well; and across the state that positive rates be 5% or below for the last seven days, currently the state is at 5.5% positive rate.
Carter said that under the current metrics if Lake County has one positive test then all school districts would have to turn to comprehensive distance learning, something that he disagrees with and visited with the Governor’s Office last week to try to work out a waiver for the county. Though under the current metrics there are exceptions for Kindergarten through Third grade even if the rest of the district is distance learning only.
“I am working on a different matrix that not only keeps us safe, but is more realistic,” said Carter.
In an email Carter said that a statewide committee has been formed on the school reopening metrics, and he said everything is moving on a positive path.
He noted for counties that have large land areas, but small populations, the metrics do not make sense.
Carter is focused on getting school started, and in person, though he noted that it is a difficult task with many moving targets from the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Education and the Governor’s Office.
“This has been a very challenging time for our kids, which is why we will have mental health services on campus,” said Carter.
Knowing that many students, and staff, have gone through a difficult time when schools were shut down and quickly transitioned to online only, he said that it will take time to adjust to the new ways of doing things.
One area that Carter is excited about is helping younger students with face coverings. He is recruiting students from the high school to act as a Honker Crew to help be positive role models for those in the younger grades. They will show the children how to wear face coverings and that it can be cool to wear one. As the requirements for children and face coverings has been lower to ages five and up, they are not yet a requirement for children to attend schools but are strongly encouraged.
One area that Carter has concern and could lead to less class time for students is transportation, and the requirements set down for that area. With only a few school buses and at times long routes, there is concern about how to get children into the classroom yet have the buses be as safe as possible. The solution was not an A/B schedule, instead the start time of the elementary and middle/high school have been staggered.
Students attending those schools will still go to school five days a week under the plan. The elementary schools would be in session from 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., with after school daycare offered.
While students attending Daly Middle School and Lakeview High School will attend classes from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
“We heard from many parents who took the survey that the A/B schedule would not work, especially in households where both parents worked,” said Carter.
He said that with this staggered schedule it will allow more in person instruction time than most school districts.
Electives such as agriculture, horticulture, welding, and such will still continue, but they will be on a modified schedule.
Carter noted that things could change, and with many moving parts nothing is set, though the district is ready for comprehensive distance learning.
For more information call 541-947-3347.