INDEPENDENCE — Central School District is preparing to start the school year with "comprehensive distance learning." They are still building a hybrid education model to use when restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus allow.

“This has been a pretty quick 24-hour shift,” said Superintendent Jennifer Kubista in a July 29 community committee meeting about planning for the 2020-21 school year.

Gov. Kate Brown held a press conference on July 28 to address K-12 education.

“In that she gave us a new sections in the Ready Schools Safe Learners called COVID-19 Metrics,” Kubista said.

Oregon schools must submit their reopening plans to the state by Aug. 17.

“Part of this document is how we return to in-school instruction because of what's happening with the viruses in all counties,” Kubista said. “That's either on-site or that hybrid model approach. There are specific metrics now. There are still pieces of this guidance that I, as a superintendent and many superintendents across this state, are still asking for some clarity (on).”

She said they've asked for guidance from the governor, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education.

One of the conditions that needs to be met before schools have in-person education is 10 or fewer new cases per 100,000 people.

Polk County has a population of 86,085, according to 2019 data.

“In the county our test positivity also has to be less than 5 percent in the preceding seven days as well as the two weeks prior,” Kubista said.

In her presentation, Kubista showed data of positive cases in the county and state.

“We are trending, from a county perspective, on the number of cases in the wrong direction,” she said. “We were good July 5, with that 20.9, we would have still been in that watch phase. The last two weeks we are over that 30 and would have to be moving into that (comprehensive distance learning). As of today, so far Polk County from Sunday to today we are already at 28 cases.”

On Thursday, the OHA showed seven new cases of COVID-19.

There are some exceptions tied to K-3 in-person education, she said.

“(We're) still working through pieces on what that actually means,” Kubista said. “We've asked for some clarity. They said that could be a priority. We're still working through that.”

The district still has questions about guidance out-of-district students and staff, she said

“About 24 percent of our staff come from outside of Monmouth and Independence so we're trying to get clarity on that,” Kubista said. “It doesn't tell me how much I have to take that into consideration.”

They also will consider neighboring counties.

“That's going to be hard for us, Marion is one of the highest in the state,” she said. “But we do have a lot of staff that come from that area and students as well. But again that's one of the criteria.”

Working on the 2020-21 school year calendar is one of the next steps, she said.

Click here to watch video of the meeting.


Community information meetings about CSD 13J Virtual Learning Academy are scheduled for Aug. 3, 4 and 5

The zoom link for all the informational sessions or call in to participate by phone using either 1-253-215-8782 or 1-669-900-9128.

Monday, Aug. 3:

8 - 9 a.m. - Elementary Schools

9 - 10 a.m. - CSD Staff

5 - 6 p.m. - Central High School

6 - 7 p.m. - Talmadge Middle School

7 - 8 p.m. - Elementary Schools

Tuesday, Aug. 4:

8 - 9 a.m. - Central High School

Wednesday, Aug. 5:

8 - 9 a.m. - Talmadge Middle School

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