Neah-Kah-Nie School District is eligible under the new guidance of the Oregon Department of Education’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners to return to in-person instruction. Schools plan to move to onsite or hybrid models on Monday, Jan. 11.
Neah-Kah-Nie School District staff have been trained on contact tracing, cleaning, mask wearing, screening themselves and students, COVID-19 responses in schools, washing hands and physical distancing as part of the preparation of getting back into class. School staff is organizing their work to train families and students on the new procedures so they are ready to go onsite or through a hybrid model on Jan. 11.
Garibaldi Grade School is currently in comprehensive distance learning with limited in-person learning for 42 students currently in grades K-5. Principal Janmarie Nugent said the school began the limited in-person learning on Monday, Nov. 2, and has continued to add to the number of students they are bringing back to the building.
“We have five cohorts of students that are here from 1.5 hours up to two hours, depending on the cohort,” Nugent said. “We are continuing to add to the number of students for limited in-person instruction as needed.”
The school is working on videos for students and families to view in order to help prepare them for the changes in the school’s arrival/dismissal procedures, screening and more.
Nehalem Elementary School Principal Kristi Woika said the school is currently in comprehensive distance learning with limited in-person learning for about 20 students K-5. They began the limited in-person learning on Nov. 2.
“All my classroom teachers have 1-4 students back in their classrooms two days per week for two hours each day for limited in-person learning,” Woika said.
Right now, the school is trying to increase limited in-person instruction capacity to allow for more students onsite but is moving slowly and safely to do that, Woika added. Both Nehalem Elementary School and Garibaldi Grade School are in the process of gathering parent input through a survey they put out to firm up enrollment for onsite and to see if there is interest in an online only model program for K-5 for when the schools return to onsite learning.
Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School Principal Lori Dilbeck said the school is currently in comprehensive distance learning with limited in-person learning for about 23 students. The school has two academic cohorts: one comes from 9-11 a.m. and the other from 1-3 p.m.
“In addition to the two academic cohorts, today we are starting a third cohort for students to attend activities after school from 4-5:30 p.m.,” Dilbeck said.
While in comprehensive distance learning, the school is hoping to increase its limited in-person learning to support more students, Dilbeck added.
“Our plan moving forward is to move to a hybrid model of instruction where half of the students, cohort A will attend onsite Mondays and Wednesdays, and the other half of the student, cohort B, will attend onsite learning on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Dilbeck said. “All students will attend their classes via Zoom meetings when they are not onsite.”
All students at Neah-Kah-Nie High School are currently enrolled in comprehensive distance learning. Their classes are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. All classes utilize the Google Classroom structure and Zoom or Google Meets to have virtual face-to-face sessions.
“On Friday, we hold intervention classes to support students with credit recovery needs and our Advisory class, which focuses on college and career readiness, social emotional learning and study skills,” Principal Heidi Buckmaster said. “We dedicate time daily for office hours and parent contact to provide extra support in navigating these systems.”
Buckmaster said some students are participating in limited in-person instruction. The school has two general sessions from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. There are also other sessions at varying times throughout the day.
“We have also reopened for athletics and activities after school Monday, Wednesday and Friday for small groups,” Buckmaster said.
Thirty-five students are currently participating in limited in-person instruction with an additional 30 students in the process of being scheduled, Buckmaster added. Students have been prioritized if they need support with attendance, connectivity, specially designed instructional needs, counseling services and access to special equipment in CTE courses.
“Beginning Jan. 11 if all goes well and it is safe to start, the high school plan is to have 12 safe-secure cohorts where half of each cohort attends school in person two days per week and participates in asynchronous lessons two days per week,” Buckmaster said. “In this way, we can safely maintain physical distancing requirements and still see all of our students in person.”
Students will stay in their cohort all day long as staff moves around the school. Campus will be closed. There are assigned restrooms, one-way traffic patterns, no sharing of any items, frequent hand washing/sanitizing, staggered lunch times, entrance and exit routines and sanitation protocols.
Every Thursday at 3 p.m., there is an open invitation to chat with the principal via Zoom at https://bit.ly/3kw6ST6
Student Services/Special Education Director Stacey Dills said the school district’s special education teams have been working with families and school staff to be sure that each student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is being met during comprehensive distance learning. The includes receiving the amount of specially designed instruction time specified in their plan in synchronous (teacher facilitates/live instruction), as well as meeting the state required time for synchronous instruction for all students at their grade level.
“Special education supports vary based on individual student’s needs during comprehensive distance learning, just as they do during onsite services,” Dills said. “Common supports include special education instruction assistant (IA) support in virtual general education classrooms, IA support during small virtual break out sessions, individual and/or group specially designed instruction periods to work on IEP goals, virtual parent coaching and facilitation to work jointly with students, office hours for extra support, and special education and itinerant consultation with staff and families to support students with disabilities.”
Students that typically have direct speech language therapy sessions are offered live sessions with the school district’s speech language pathologist, Dills added. This model was started last March when schools were originally closed to in-person instruction. Since building operational blueprints have been approved, they are now offering limited in-person instruction, starting with students who struggle with connectivity and accessing schoolwork through a virtual model. They currently have students coming in 2-5 days per week based on their individual needs for up to two hours per day.
“As safe opening allows, the special education team at each school will follow their building plans and make adjustments for individual students to be sure their individualized plans and needs continue to be met,” Dills said.