MSD prepares students for in-person hybrid learning with orientations

MEDFORD, Ore. — It’s an orientation without academics.

The Medford School District is welcoming students back to in-person learning this week, by helping them get adjusted to what school will look like during a pandemic.

Teachers at Hedrick Middle School couldn’t be happier to see their kids.

“This is my love, I love teaching and I’m excited to get right back to it,” said Julie Becksted, who teaches 8th grade math.

She spent Tuesday going over the rules with her kids.

Knowing it will be difficult, she’s looking to lead by example. “I’ve got to be the model in here of what is now acceptable, for hopefully for the time being, but for however long we have to do this to in order to keep kids in our classroom that’s our goal.”

“I think it’s setting them up for success, and routine is something that junior high kids really buy into. It’s right now, getting them a sense of this is your school, this is what it looks like, 8th graders remembering what it was,” added 8th grade social studies teacher, Peter Voskes.

He says it’s strange to welcome students back to school in February, but he’s excited they’re back on campus.

“This is home, and we want the kids to feel like Hedrick is home and they’re back at home.”

The school is trying to keep things as simple as they can for the kids.

Arrows are placed on the floors, directing them to their classrooms.

“We’ve broken up our student body into 4 groups, alphabetically, and so a certain group comes everyday of the week 4 days out of 5,” said principal Beth Anderson. She says the kids are then broken into 7 teams to keep less kids on campus at a given time to ensure proper distancing.

“[The] 6th grade team which has about 100-115 kids, so if you divide that by 4, that’s the number of kids who will be here each day. Our 7th grade team has about 140 kids, so divide that by 4 and that’s how many kids will be here each day,” said Anderson.

It’s an exciting time, they say it’s been strangely quiet on campus for months.

“I’ve never done this before, so I honestly don’t know what to completely expect. Normally on the first day of school, I’ve had so many first days here at Hedrick – we know the practice and protocol. This is something we’ve never done before,” said Becksted.

Hedrick teachers are just happy to see their kids in person, once again.

Orientations are happening in the Medford School District for elementary and middle school students all week long.

Official hybrid learning will begin March 1st for elementary students and March 29th for middle schoolers.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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