Image of Letter McKenzie Schools to Start Online

McKenzie to Start School Year Remotely This September

Dear McKenzie Families, Students and Community,

Earlier this week, Governor Brown, the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Education released new guidelines to help schools in Oregon determine how and when to safely return to in-person learning. Currently, Lane County and most of Oregon does not meet the conditions to allow for students to return to campus for in-person instruction. As such, all McKenzie students, K-12, will begin the year learning remotely through the month of September at minimum. In the recent guidelines, K-3 may be able to return under current conditions but at this time to ensure the safety of all of our students, staff, families and community members, these students will start the year online as well. Lane County Public Health has been working closely with area schools to help us monitor infection rates and we will share those figures with you weekly on our Reopening Schools webpage.

Over the next few weeks, we will begin reaching out to families to learn more about your individual needs so we can best align our resources to support each student. Thank you to all of you who responded to our survey earlier this summer, your input really helped shape our discussions and planning for reopening!

Faculty and staff will also be using the coming weeks for professional development and training to help support them in supporting our students online. This support, training, and planning will make Distance Learning more robust than this past spring. Staff will also be fine tuning logistics for meal distribution, building sanitizing routines as well as planning for the eventual return of students to campus.

Our school year will begin the week of September 8th with our “Week of Welcome.” During the Week of Welcome, staff members will be conferencing with families and students to discuss the coming year to ensure Distance Learning gets started on the right foot. We will start our first day of classes in Distance Learning the following week beginning September 14th.

Distance Learning will run through the month of September at minimum. As we get closer to the end of September, keeping local infection information in mind, we will be making the decision to continue Distance Learning or to begin the process of returning students to campus. Should the decision be to return to campus, families will have the opportunity to make a decision to return to campus for in-person learning or to continue Distance Learning online.

People around our nation and the world have been making some very difficult decisions as a result of COVID-19. While we understand that some families and students may be disappointed with our decision to start with Distance Learning, know that student safety will remain at the center of each decision we make and that safely returning students to campus is our goal.

Each day, each of us make decisions that can help keep our infection rates down including washing hands frequently, maintaining physical distancing, wearing face coverings when you cannot safely distance as well as keeping gatherings small. If we all do our part, we can get students on campus sooner rather than later.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility!

Lane Tompkins