BAKER CITY – (Release from the Baker School District) On March 22, the Oregon Department of Education released updated Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance to align physical distancing rules with current research and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new guidance allows 3 feet of physical distancing for students in schools under certain conditions and makes it possible for the Baker School District to bring secondary students back to full-time, in-person learning. The date previously communicated for this return was April 12.
In light of the increase in COVID-19 cases last week, Baker School District and local Health Department leadership met this morning to discuss the proposed return of secondary students to full- time, in-person instruction this coming Monday, April 12.
At this morning’s meeting, the Health Department expressed support for moving forward with the plan to re-open full-time, in-person instruction to students in grades 7-12 within the District on Monday. Facts informing this decision included the current week’s trend of lower COVID-19 case counts after last week’s spike, the absence of any community spread within Baker 5J schools, and the demonstrated ability by Baker 5J schools to enforce current health protocols.
“We are confident that our strong partnership with the Baker School District will allow our secondary students to return to full-time, in-person learning in a safe way on Monday,” said Baker County Public Health Administrator Nancy Staten. “Together, we can ensure that all health and safety protocols are followed for the benefit of the community, while allowing secondary students to return to the many supports they have missed since moving away from full-time, in-person learning as a result of the current pandemic.”
“We are excited for students in grades 7-12 to join those in grades PreK-6 who have had the opportunity for full-time, in-person instruction since last October,” said Superintendent Witty. “We have been successful in providing full-time, in-person instruction to our younger students in the midst of the current pandemic; and we look forward to providing that option for our secondary students again on Monday. As more individuals within our community have become vaccinated, we are thankful to be able to move closer to normal and provide the increased supports of full-time, in-person learning to all the students in our District.”
About the Baker School District
Nationally recognized Baker School District 5J (BSD) is a major employer in Baker City, OR, serving 1,700 students locally with an additional 3,000 online students across the state of Oregon. Through enterprising, collaborative endeavors, BSD is creating an innovative educational foundation for future Oregonians. BSD believes strong school collaboration with local partners enables us to create vibrant communities that support lifelong learners.