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INDEPENDENCE — The Central School District announced Monday they are committed to comprehensive distance learning through February, 2021, but are working on exceptions.

“We have been closely monitoring the health metrics,” said CSD Superintendent Jennifer Kubista. “To provide some stability to students, families and staff, we have decided to commit to distance learning through the first semester, and re-evaluate at that point.”

She said the district has been working on one of the exceptions to the health metrics from the Oregon Department of Education for limited in-person instruction.

“This will allow us to bring in small groups of 10 students for two hours,” Kubista said. “We will focus on offering this to students first at the K-5 level. More information will be shared as we build. If your student is eligible for limited in-person instruction (LIPI), your school will contact you.”

The district expects to start contacting families this week to ask if they are interested in having their student be part of the first cohorts of students.

“The Oregon Department of Education’s guidance allows for schools to bring in 250 students per week,” Kubista said. “Students can spend a maximum of two hours per day in a school building. During (limited in-person instruction), students will be separated into cohorts of no more than 10 students. A student can only be a part of two cohorts in any given week. Please keep in mind that if a student rides the bus to and from LIPI, the bus counts as one cohort.”

The district is working with building principals to prioritize which students will be in the first group.

“We will begin to build our first group of cohorts and are continuing to define which group of students will be brought in for the first cohorts of students,” Kubista said. “The first group we know for certain are students in K-5 who do not have access to internet.”

The district, through a grant in partnership with the cities of Indpendence and Monmouth and Monmouth-Independence Network, has been working to provide internet at no cost to students who otherwise would not have access.

“We know this is difficult to hear, but the safety and health of our students, staff, and the community is our most important priority,” Kubista said. “Please continue to stay safe, social distance, and wear a mask. Remember we are all in this together, Central Strong.”

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