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Welches students begin school year with distance learning posted on 09/01/2020

Schools across Oregon sent students home in March for the coronavirus epidemic, first for a few weeks, then for more than a month and finally for the remainder of the school year.

Now, as the 2020-21 school year begins, students in the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) will remain at home for distance learning, with the choice of virtual synchronous or asynchronous instruction.

"We want to thank our families for their resilience, adaptability, and patience," Aaron Bayer, OTSD Superintendent, said. "We understand the pressure distance learning puts on them and are committed to expanding our partnership to engage their children in learning."

Synchronous instruction, via live-streamed sessions, will occur during regular school hours. Asynchronous instruction, via recorded sessions, can be done at a time convenient for the student’s family.

Classes for synchronous instruction will offer a full curriculum, with students receiving grades, while the district intends to transition to a hybrid model when students are allowed back into the classroom. Parents who are uncomfortable sending a child to school when the transition happens can opt to have their child continue to participate in the virtual classes from home.

Asynchronous instruction will be provided by two online educational platforms, Schools PLP for grades kindergarten through fifth and Edgenuity for grades six through 12, offering pre-recorded lessons that may be viewed at any time. Students who participate in online instruction would not transition to the hybrid model once schools reopen but would continue with the online instruction for the full school year.

Students with an Individualized Education Program or a 504 plan will hear from case managers during the first week of school to go over their plans.

The district will also work with families for technology and internet needs, including Chromebooks and wireless hotspots available for checkout.

Virtual classes will take place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with advisory classes and kindergarten through fifth grade community building classes on Wednesdays. Teachers will also have daily office hours. Elementary students will be assigned to their grade level class, while middle school students will be in classes for core content areas (math, science, social studies and English language arts) and high school students will be assigned classes based on their completed forecast.

The district also will offer meals, and will distribute a plan and schedule to parents, along with information about the state’s expanded free and reduced guidelines.

To transition to the hybrid model, offering instruction with two cohorts of students attending school on alternating days, the district will follow health metrics from the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education. Metrics for both Clackamas and Multnomah County will be considered due to 38 percent of the district’s teachers living in Multnomah County.

For more information and full details on reopening and COVID-19, visit www.oregontrailschools.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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