INDEPENDENCE — The Central School District is allowing theater rehearsal, athletics and is working on other limited in-person meetings.

CSD Jennifer Kubista at the Oct. 5 board meeting addressed some community comments they received about theater rehearsals.

“There is guidance under the ready school, safe learners specific to visual and performing arts,” she said. “So our theater department put a proposal together to the school district and really developed a pretty thorough safety protocol for rehearsals and performances that fall under the education theater association guidelines and the department of education guidelines for visual and performing arts.”

She said a lot of athletics happens outside and rehearsals have been too.

“Three to four days a week is what they’ve proposed,” Kubista said. “If they do go into the stage area … they’ll be wearing masks. But beyond that, they’re going to be 10 to 12 feet apart if they’re even on the stage. So even further distance that what we are required to which is the six feet.”

They’re also doing some online rehearsal, she said.

“As we do with athletics, they’ll get asked the questions about their health,” Kubista said. “We are very clear with everyone, both on the athletic side and with the theater on the visual, art side of the safety and security of our students. This is allowed by the OSAA and the Oregon Department of Education.”

She said the district is trying to get other in-person or limited in-person access for students.

In a discussion about WiFi access, board chair Steve Love said that some kids are not engaged with online learning and asked if there was anything they could do to put pressure on ODE.

Kubista pointed out the success they had with graduation in the spring and the summer school program.

“We feel we have good protocols,” Kubista said. “I’m hoping we can get some next steps with the governor and ODE … I also think if they can look at limited in-person access we can be very safe and thoughtful and have good supervision of students and then having them be in a really good space to have some connection but then also meet all safety and security measures for their health.”

The county and state metrics still don’t allow for full in-person teaching.

“I know this is really frustrating for the community,” Kubista said. “I’m getting messages from the community, ‘please Jen keep the schools closed,’ as much as I’m getting, ‘Jen can we please move forward with limited in person.’ I’m trying to build the best of both worlds. The guidance allows me to do limited, but I don’t have the metrics that we can do that safely. I am pushing for the access piece because we do have some fairly large spaces that I think we could do it safely.”

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