July 29th Communication to Families
The below communication was emailed to all families on Wednesday, July 29th.
David Douglas School District Families,
We recently shared a possible plan for reopening our schools for the 2020-21 school year. If we are able to reopen our buildings, this plan included options for students to return online-only, or in a hybrid model that would include some in-person instruction.
We will continue to work on these plans. At some point we will reopen our buildings to educators and students engaged in inter-personal teaching, learning and socializing, and we must be fully prepared to do that safely and well.
However, we are seeing cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in parts of Multnomah County, the state of Oregon and the nation. The health and safety of our students and staff, as well as their families and communities, is our top priority. We are not going to reopen schools under a plan that puts their health at significant risk, nor would the State of Oregon allow us to.
This week, Gov. Kate Brown released a series of health and safety metrics that schools must meet before they are allowed to reopen. The numbers of new cases and positive COVID-19 test rates must be below a set amount for schools to reopen to any in-person instruction. You can see details about these metrics here.
Based on these coronavirus-related metrics at this time in Multnomah County, it is becoming increasingly clear that the David Douglas School District will not be able to safely reopen in September for any in-person instruction.
Therefore, we are now planning to reopen in September with Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) for all students grades Pre-K through 12.
In Comprehensive Distance Learning, all students are engaged at their homes in daily interactive learning through virtual instruction from David Douglas teachers and educators. CDL is rooted in strong instructional practices, effective teacher-student contact time, meaningful peer-to-peer interaction, equitable learning opportunities, and a consistent schedule.
The Oregon Department of Education has provided detailed guidance about what Comprehensive Distance Learning looks like. You can see that guidance here.
Under our CDL model, our teachers and other staff will open the school year by reaching out to families to check in with your students and your needs.
Students will then engage in Comprehensive Distance Learning until Nov. 13. As that Nov. 13 date nears, we will re-evaluate the health conditions in Multnomah County and determine whether we must remain in a CDL model for a longer period of time, or whether we will be ready to safely transition to an in-person or hybrid model.
All the planning we have done for a hybrid model and an eventual reopening has not been a waste of time. Once we are able to reopen our buildings, we will be ready with a robust and flexible plan that will allow staff and students to safely engage in live instruction in our classrooms. The health and safety metrics released by the State of Oregon this week provide a pathway for younger students (Pre-K-3) and/or special needs children to come back into our buildings sooner than other students. We are not there yet, but the hybrid model we have planned for had already prioritized getting these students in front of educators at a higher rate than other students.
We know that Comprehensive Distance Learning is extremely difficult for many of our families. We hear and share your deep concerns about such issues as childcare, social-emotional well-being, adequate academic support, and more. And we acknowledge the frustration of knowing that right now there are more questions than answers.
But our pledge to our families is to provide your children with the most robust and rigorous academic programming possible, along with all of the emotional-social supports we can wrap around them. Our David Douglas educators and support staff care deeply about your students and our families, and we will be with you every step of the way as we all get through this pandemic together.
We will communicate with you soon with further details about our CDL plan, including online curriculum, attendance, devices your student will have access to, internet connectivity and other supports.
Until then, please remain safe, and protect your neighbors. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask when leaving the house, and keep practicing safe social distancing. Remember that children 5 and older must also wear a face covering in public. Please help your young children practice wearing their masks correctly. The sooner we all slow the spread of the virus, the sooner our children can get back inside our schools where they belong.