Josephine Co. meets metrics for in-person schooling

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – There is a lot of uncertainty with the coming school year across Oregon, however 15 counties in the state and six in southern Oregon currently met the state required metrics. By meeting the metrics, kindergarten through third graders can be taught with in-person instruction.

The principal at Fort Vannoy Elementary school in Grants Pass said teachers and admins alike are excited to have, so far, met the metrics for in-person schooling. “I’m really excited, its been so long since we’ve had students in our building,” said Principal Alicia Timbs.

She said they want to keep their students and staff healthy, so they’re making sure staff is getting extra training this year on COVID-19 safety. “I think everyone is feeling that nervous excitement that everyone feels when school starts back up,” said Timbs. According to the principal, they’re working to ensure there is enough time for teachers and students to wash their hands after activities and reminding students to keep their mask on.

“I think there are things, I don’t want to even call them a minor inconvenience, it’s just another little step we have to take to ensure the safety of our staff and students,” said Timbs. According to OHA director Patrick Allen, counties need to meet the metrics so students aren’t sent home mid-semester. “It really doesn’t do kids or communities or parents or anybody any good to keep loop sawing back and forth from in person learning and remote learning,” he said.

Over the past two weeks, there have been 12 new COVID-19 cases in Josephine County, keeping them within the metrics to open instruction for K-3rd, per OHA guidance. Principal Timbs tells me they’ve never had students wear masks to school before, but she hopes they’ve been wearing them all summer, so they’re used to it.

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