For some students, Tuesday was the first day back to school to attend in-person classes in the Seaside School District.
The district is phasing in students beginning with kindergarten and first-grade students first, said District Superintendent Susan Penrod.
On January 1st, Governor Kate Brown reset the metrics for in-person learning moving them from required to advisory, Penrod said. The state also reset the metrics from 200 positive case counts per 100,000 population to 350 positive case counts per 100,000.
The number of positive case counts has been “steadily declining,” she said. The number of cases in Clatsop County has dropped below the 200 per 100,000 level, although it is calculated using a formula with the 38,000 to 39,000 people in the county.
The school board approved the leadership team’s recommendation to return part time to in-person learning called hybrid, she said.
“All research shows that younger students need to be in-person first,” she said.
The week of March 1st, second and third graders start back and the week of March 15th, fourth- and fifth- grade students return to in-person classes, as stated in the superintendent’s power point.
Sixth grade students begin in-person classes on Monday Feb. 22; seventh and eighth graders begin March 1st; and high school students return on March 16, as stated in the power point. Students whose parents want them to continue with comprehensive distance learning may do that.
For students, this is the first day they have been able to enter the newly constructed district building for classes.
“Everyone was happy to be back,” Penrod said. “It was a special moment today. I am really thankful to our staff for all the hard work they’ve done to make this happen.”
All elementary students attend in-person classes half days for four days, she said. The classes are divided into morning and afternoon groups. Middle and high school students attend in-person classes two days a week and distance learning the remaining days.
Elementary school students will be seated 35-square-feet apart and wear face masks as will staff. Desks are six-feet apart. Students will be visually checked for signs of illness before entering the classroom by a staff member.
Students who are transported by bus to and from school must follow the six-foot apart rule, she said.
“The Meals for All Program will continue,” she said. Each student through 18 years old will be given a breakfast and lunch in a sack they can take home for the next day.
It varies depending on the county in Oregon whether schools have reopened for in-person learning, she said.