Superintendent Report

Superintendent Report: Eagle Point School District
September 22, 2021

 

COVID19 and Instruction: I am very proud of the tremendous work our EPSD9 staff has accomplished in getting Eagle Point District schools up and running with the majority of our students attending in person. It has not been an easy path. Every day, I am amazed at the problem solving, hard work and dedication our staff demonstrates and has accomplished in a world of staff shortages, quarantines, and transportation glitches. EPSD9 has put our kids first and met each and every challenge. Our reward and our ongoing number one priority has been keeping our kids in in-person instruction. We are succeeding.
It is just as necessary to recognize and thank the parents of Eagle Point School District for their understanding and support. Keeping our students in school has been a messy process. The dedicated work and good intentions of our employees cannot change the frustrations our parents also are experiencing. Bus routes are longer, programs have been combined, staff that normally answer phones -a struggle for us in the best of times- are working elsewhere. We need to acknowledge that these issues try the patience of already stressed parents. I thank our patrons for their patience and ask them for the continued support as EPSD9 works to keep our students in school.

Vaccinations: On October 18th the order that all employees, volunteers and subcontractors working in schools be vaccinated or exempted will go into effect. This order falls under the state's emergency powers and is delineated in ORS 401.168 and ORS 413. Oregon law allows for both medical/health and religious exemptions.

473 Employees:

286 Fully Vaccinated

  22 In Process of vaccinating

  32 Intend to be vac.

  96 Intend to apply for religious/medical exception

  27 No intent to vaccinate or file an exception

    8 no response

    2 new employees (began after survey deadline)

within the category of ‘no intent’ our data, as of 9/14/21 indicated:

4 Technology

2 Teachers

1 Maintenance

1 Custodial

          13 Instructional Assistants

2 Administrative Assistants

If these, September 14, data remain true, after October 18, it would be problematic that we could continue to keep our schools open to in-person instruction. Since this survey, we have worked and are continuing to work to reduce the number of staff who do not intend to vaccinate or file an exemption. We believe we are being successful and that many of the ‘no intent’ employees will be vaccinated or will have submitted exemptions.

Transportation: EPSD9 is currently operating it’s bus routes with 15 drivers. These fifteen drivers include using other certified staff, such as mechanics to drive. Ideally EPSD9 would like a minimum of 22 drivers available to drive our routes and activity buses. We currently have three driver trainees in the pipeline that we anticipate being able to begin service by late October. We also anticipate the return of one driver from extended leave.
To address the shortage we have combined bus routes which unfortunately lengthens the time our students are riding buses. Our largest struggle is in transporting our teams and activities to events. We are working to qualify as many staff, coaches and volunteers as possible to drive minibuses and vans. We are also working to purchase or lease additional vans and minibuses. Beyond our ongoing recruitment efforts for drivers we are attempting to lease charter buses to run routes or activities. We are also implementing a practice to begin allowing parents and students to transport themselves to activities within a reasonable distance of the district.
If our transportation situation worsens we are working to prepare two alternatives. The first, which we call ‘Hubs’ is to consolidate (reduce) the number of pick up/drop off points on the routes to a minimum. We are currently working to determine what this would look like and how many drivers/buses we would need to do this successfully.
Our second option, called ‘Minimums’ is to reduce the number of students being transported to the absolute minimum number. This will require communication and partnership with parents to get the majority of our students to school by private means. The District would then focus its transportation resources on those students that absolutely cannot get to school any other way. As a first step we are preparing a message and survey for parents to go out in the coming days.
Quarantines: This academic year, the quarantining of staff and students has become a fact of life. Last year, we operated with approximately 10% of our staff and students in quarantine on any given day. Over the summer new rules for quarantine, determined by Jackson County Health Department, lessened the requirement to quarantine to those exposed but vaccinated and masked. From August 30 to September 22 our overall quarantine data is:

Staff:

Schools

Exposure Symptoms 

Positive 

Totals

Eagle Rock Elementary


4

1

5

Table Rock Elementary


2

4

6

Shady Cove Schools


2

1

3

LCLC


0

0

0

URCEO


1

0

1

Hillside Elementary


6

0

6

White Mountain MS


1

0

1

Eagle Point MS


0

0

0

Eagle Point High School


1

0

1

District Office


0

2

2

Totals: 


17

8

25

Students:

Schools

Exposure/Symptoms

Positive 

Totals

Eagle Rock Elementary


21

4

25

Table Rock Elementary


61

1

62

Shady Cove Schools


18

5

23

LCLC


0

0

0

URCEO


0

0

0

Hillside Elementary


24

4

28

White Mountain MS


32

2

34

Eagle Point MS


12

4

16

Eagle Point High School


29

6

35

Totals: 


197

26

223


EPSD is creating a dashboard that will be located on our COVID page and will provide up to date information for our community. We hope this information will better communicate our day-to-day status to our staff, students and patrons.
Essential Skills: I have received many questions regarding Essential Skills and the recently passed SB 774 which removed the requirement for demonstrating essential skills for Oregon Students. For educators -or at least this educator- it is a difficult question to respond to. The topic is so mixed with past and disregarded state reform initiatives and current politics. The bottom line is how does this change actually impact EPSD9 students. I have asked EPHS to present to the board on what this change, if any, means for our students.
D9 Foundation: The D9 Foundation has been working toward their Fall fundraising Dinner and Golf Tournament held at Eagle Point Golf course. The Foundation’s goal is to raise $75k for student scholarships to be distributed this spring. The D9 Foundation successfully held it’s Golf Tournament last weekend. D9 Board Director and former EPSD9 Teacher Bob Wille described the event as “Wonderful, happy people, having a good time.  And who ordered the weather?  You deserve a medal.
Due to COVID, the in-person Dinner and Auction was cancelled. However an online auction is being prepared and the dates and how to participate will be announced shortly.
Due to the cancellation of its main fundraiser, the Auction, last year the Foundation began asking EPSD9 employees to make a contribution each month. Currently, 16 employees are contributing to the Foundation for a total of $190.00 per month. Employees wishing to make a contribution can notify do so by completing a contribution form on Frontline or contacting the District's finance department.

 Andy Kovach
Superintendent
541-830-6563