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As we wait to see the specifics for the new school year ahead in school districts throughout Columbia County, the Oregon Department of Education has released new, updated guidelines for the schools across the state.

New School Year

The revised guidance includes new direction on Comprehensive Distance Learning and a timeline for partnering with Local Health Authorities

The revised guidance includes new direction on Comprehensive Distance Learning and a timeline for partnering with local health authorities. See the full report attached to this story.

As part of its planned guidance review process, the ODE's Ready Schools, Safe Learners, is developed under the direction of Governor Brown and in collaboration with Oregon Health Authority, and provides a framework for schools for the 2020-21 school year that ensures the health and safety of all students and staff and the families they return to each day.

The guidance, first released on June 10, will be updated throughout the summer based on:

  • The continuing impacts of COVID-19 and the state’s evolving mitigation efforts
  • Input from educators, students, families, and community partners
  • Continued review of equity impacts
  • Learnings from efforts in other states and countries
  • Guidance from the Governor’s Healthy Schools Reopening Council

The Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance allows schools to implement three instructional models: on-site, distance learning, or a hybrid of the two. This latest release offers essential elements to Comprehensive Distance Learning for any school that will be operating under a distance learning model in the coming school year.

The revised guidance defines Comprehensive Distance Learning, provides a framework for districts to evaluate Comprehensive Distance Learning capacity, and includes planning tools for Comprehensive Distance Learning implementation.

Comprehensive Distance Learning is an instructional model consciously selected in advance, with time to plan and make preparations to ensure quality and accessibility of the learning experience for all students. ODE does not anticipate that many schools will begin the year operating under Comprehensive Distance Learning.

The information provided assists schools and districts to make that assessment and complete the Operational Blueprints required by each and every school by August 15.

Other updates to the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance include:

  • Increased clarity on timeline and process for how schools and districts partner with Local Public Health Authorities. (Page 12)
  • Authority of this guidance updated to reference Executive Order 20-29.

The next update to the guidance is expected on July 21.


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