Superintendent

Superintendent Report: Eagle Point School District 

January 13, 2021



COVID-19

At this time, Eagle Point School District is at a critical point in educating our students in the midst of a pandemic. On December 23rd Governor Brown sent letters to the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority directing that on January 1st, Oregon COVID19 Guidelines would become advisory rather than required and setting a state-wide goal to return students to in-person instruction by the middle of February. Essentially, the hard decisions move from the Governor’s office to school districts.

These changes are significant and based on this information Eagle Point School District has followed a two-pronged strategy. Ideally we would like and intend to move the district to ‘Hybrid Instruction’ beginning, with the start of the new semester, on January 25th. If this is not possible we will move to expanding Limited In-Person Instruction to the maximum extent possible. For EPSD9, ‘Hybrid Instruction' would have K-5 and Shady Cove’s K-8 attending five days a week and 6-12 attending on an alternating schedule. 

The timeline is aggressive and EPSD9 employees have been working extremely hard to navigate the many obstacles in meeting this deadline. In normal times much of the work for such a project would take place first and then we publicize our intentions and plans. These are not normal times and circumstances required we set the goal and date and then begin the difficult work to meet the expectation. This is frustrating not only for our staff, but for our parents. For example as I write this new bus routes are being entered into our computer system and will then need to be proofed by buses actually driving the routes and only then publicized to our families. This is expected to be on Monday. In the meantime, parents knowing we’re working to begin on the 25th and having to make their own plans want this information yesterday.


At the same time there are extremely important variables happening beyond our control that could impact our plans. On January 15th the Oregon Health Authority will release the next ‘Two-Week Look-Back’ which analyzes the progress of COVID19 in Oregon counties. We are hopeful that this data will indicate a positivity rate below 8% and cases per 100,000 below 350. Following this, by January 19th the Oregon Department of Education will release revised, and now advisory, Ready Schools Safe Learners Guidance. It is anticipated that the new RSSL Guidance will address concerns regarding COVID19 Liability for school districts as well as creating new categories for county metrics.


Any one of the topics I’ve spoken to above could impact EPSD9’s plans.  As well, looking into the future we are anticipating the arrival of new varieties of COVID19. The current research on schools, our safety procedures and the communicability of the disease could change. 


Vaccinations:

Yesterday, the Federal Government released the national stockpile of COVID19 vaccines to states. Importantly the allocation to individual states is based on “Through-put”. In other words states will be receiving stockpile vaccines and additional supplies of vaccines based, not on population, but on the number of vaccinations actually administered. This information led Governor Brown to announce significant changes; one of which is critical to EPSD9. On January 23rd educators will be included in the category to begin receiving COVID19 vaccinations. We are hopeful that this will accelerate opportunities for EPSD9 staff to receive vaccinations as has already occurred in other Oregon counties. EPSD9 employees are in contact with Jackson County Health Department, Asante, Providence and Rogue Community Health and neighboring school districts working to schedule such opportunities.

 Respectfully,
Andy Kovach Eagle Point School District 9 Superintendent 541-830-6563