Medford School District's All-In Plan
April 27, 2021
Greetings, MSD Staff and Families,
Today, the Governor announced that due to a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Jackson is one of 15 counties to move from “high risk” to “extreme risk” with weekly opportunities to move to lower risk levels. This has very little impact on schools. We will continue to hold school as scheduled with all the safety guidance in place. Due to the diligence and commitment of our staff, students, and families, we (and other schools across the state) have seen very little virus transmission in schools.
The rise in cases has an impact on spectators at athletic events and quarantine length, and may have an impact on graduation ceremonies.
- While there will be some limits placed on spectators at athletic events, this news does not impact our athletes’ ability to play. Look for more information from your school regarding spectators.
- The Oregon Health Authority and Jackson County Public Health are now asking all unvaccinated people (including students) who are exposed to COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days. We are no longer able to shorten quarantine to ten days.
- Graduation ceremonies are tied to county risk level. While we hope to be out of “extreme risk” by the first week of June, we (with the help of our local legislators) are advocating that this important rite of passage be separated from the county guidance and added to the state school guidance (Oregon Department of Education’s Ready Schools Safe Learners). For now, we are continuing to plan (as we have been for months) for several outdoor graduations to take place in our beautiful, large, outdoor Spiegelberg Stadium with masks and physical distancing and tickets for multiple family members to attend per graduate. This once-in-a-lifetime event must be categorized as a school event, otherwise, our graduation ceremonies will need to be dramatically reduced.
We are continually grateful for our partners in health care at Asante, Providence, and Jackson County Public Health (among others) who have helped make vaccines accessible to anyone 16 or older.
Also, we appreciate our staff, parents, and students for continuing to ensure our students learn and grow. We know this news is challenging to hear, and we remind ourselves that we work for students best when we work for students together. Thank you for continuing to do so.
April 2, 2021
Greetings, MSD Families!
Please take a moment to watch this video and skim through this email for details on our next steps in the MSD.
I am thrilled to announce that we are going ALL-IN for ALL students on April 12. That means our 12,000 students will be back in classrooms with their peers and teachers, where they will thrive and grow. Our students and staff have proven that they are committed to embracing safety protocols setting us up for a successful return to the classroom full-time.
We know you have endured many changes and challenges this school year. Why make this one?
- We know that students are best served when they are in classrooms with their amazing teachers.
- Despite our best efforts, hybrid learning is challenging for everyone: students, teachers, and families, both in planning and implementation.
- The mental and emotional health has suffered during the pandemic. And child safety has as well: Child abuse reports are down significantly (near 20%), not because abuse is not happening, but because schools, the places where many of these reports are made, have been shutdown to in-person learning.
- Academically, we have fewer students passing all their classes than ever before.
- Finally, we hope that by getting as close to our regular, pre-pandemic schedule as possible as soon as possible, our students will finish off this school year strong, and we will all be more prepared to start in the fall on solid ground.
This decision was not made in isolation. In addition to logistical concerns, we heard feedback on the need for planning time from teachers and staff to reconfigure schedules and rework lessons for in-person learning. That’s why Wednesday, April 7 and Wednesday, April 14 students will learn on Canvas from home so that staff can prepare and plan. There will be no live or Zoom instruction.
Schedules Starting April 12 (Final schedules may vary, more details to come.)
Note: April 7 and April 14 will be asynchronous, home learning days for all schools except Ruch & MOA.
ODE guidance still requires students to maintain six feet of physical distancing during meal time. This means meals will likely be served in shifts and some students will be served in classrooms, while others may eat in common areas such as cafeterias. Breakfast may switch to grab-and-go at the end of the day for students to eat the next day prior to arrival. More details on meals will come from schools next week.
Transportation and Busing
If you are currently transporting your student to school, please continue to do so! Our ability to transport students by bus on a full-time schedule is based on the number of students using bus transportation currently. There are limited spaces on some routes, and there may be some changes made to bus routes. If your student rides, please keep an eye on our bus routes webpage.
The Medford School District will continue to implement safety standards such as cohorting, routine cleaning and disinfection, screening, quarantining, and more. To view or full safety standards, click here. To do your part to keep our communities safe, please do not send your student to school while sick. Click here for our exclusion guidelines. If you have not yet signed your school’s community agreement, please visit this site to do so.
Medford Online Academy (MOA)
The Medford School District is proud to continue to offer an innovative, flexible, online learning environment for students and families who may be uncomfortable with in-person learning or for whom virtual learning is a good fit. Click here for more information on MOA.
In the Medford School District, ALL are learning and learning is for ALL, and we are grateful for your trust and continued support as we go ALL-IN!
March 22, 2021
Greetings, Fantastic Families!
Happy spring break week!
Today, we received new guidance from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) on social distancing. We are excited to announce we will be allowed to shift physical distancing at all of our schools from six feet to three feet of social distancing.
As I mentioned in the video last week, this does not change anything for the Monday after spring break: the plans we put into place before spring break remain the same. When we return from break we will continue our planning and discuss next steps, ensuring we give everyone some time to prepare!
Sorry to bother you on spring break, but we knew you’d want to see the information!
March 19, 2021
Greetings, MSD Families!
Happy Spring Break!
Some of you may have seen the news from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) today that students can safely sit three feet apart in classrooms as long as masks are worn. As you know, we are currently required to follow guidance by the State of Oregon to keep students six feet apart, which is the primary driver behind our hybrid schedule. We can’t fit everyone in at once at six feet apart.
Take a moment to watch this video message from me and/or skim below for our next steps.
- According to the CDC, if districts continue to implement safety measures such as universal masking, there is no increased risk of transmission by reducing distancing.
- While the CDC has modified its guidance, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has not. We are bound to follow ODE’s guidance.
- The school schedule after spring break will be implemented as planned.
- We do believe ODE will make the change to three feet soon, so we are actively preparing. The change to three feet would allow us to get students in full time. They deserve it!
- Our Board of Directors is strongly advocating to return students full time to in-person instruction. Here is a letter they sent to the Governor’s Office today.
- We will continue to prioritize the health and wellness of our students, staff, and community by implementing rigorous safety measures. We will also continue to prioritize the mental health of our students by urgently planning for increased in-person instruction.
There will be some logistical challenges to tackle, so know that while we are urgently preparing for this expected change, there will be a number of processes that will take time to prepare. Thank you to our facilities crews who will be spending Spring Break moving furniture back into classrooms so that piece will be ready to go!
We know many of you are anxious for your students to return full time and we hear you and agree with you. We are excited to enter into this next phase of our ever-evolving educational year. Thank you!