December 31, 2020
Dear Families of the Harrisburg School District,
On December 23, Governor Brown changed the metrics for in-person learning from mandatory to advisory, which gave local school districts more control over how to do in-person learning. I know the governor did not make this decision lightly, and it is now incumbent upon the leadership of the Harrisburg School District to make safe choices for having students engaged with in-person learning. It is also important to note that the 35 square feet per person requirement has not been changed. With this requirement in place, we will be limited in how many students can physically attend school at any given time. So, although the governor’s decision of December 23 will allow for more students to attend school on a regular basis, it is still not going to look like regular school.
Schools must still follow all health safety and health protocols in the Oregon Department of Education Ready Schools, Safe Learners. The new guidance from the governor does not mean schools can resume in-person instruction without regard for COVID-19 spread in the community.
This is an exciting development that will help students academically, socially, and emotionally. It will also be exciting for our staff who have so missed the day-to-day interaction with students.
We will continue to work closely with Linn County Public Health, the Oregon Department of Education, and Oregon Health Authority to ensure our decision making process remains grounded in sound science, public health, and student, staff, and community safety.
On Monday, January 4, 2021, we will have K-3 in person learning and grades 4-6 limited instruction as we had before Christmas vacation. On Tuesday, January 5, 2021 district leaders will meet to determine a timeline for bringing our students back. Following this meeting we will have more details available for a return to in-person instruction for grades 4-12.
I know we are all eager to get back to “normal” school. This update brings us one step closer to that happening, but we are not there yet. I want to thank you for your continued patience and support through this very trying time we are all going through. Our hope is all students will have in-person instruction with their teachers as soon as possible. We will continue some form of comprehensive distance learning for those families concerned about the health and safety of their children.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school principal or email me back, and we will get you answers.
Bryan Starr, Superintendent