The new corona virus may have put a pause on the school year, but schools in Grant County are hard at work providing food for students and planning for education after spring break concludes.
Gov. Kate Brown announced on March 17 that school closures in Oregon will be extended through April 28. When the announcement came out, Grant County schools began thinking on how to provide supplemental education and how to move forward.
“As soon as the announcement of school closures came out, we began the process of unpacking what that meant for us in the Grant School District,” said Bret Uptmor, the Grant School District 3 superintendent. “We would love to say, ‘Yep, we are going to do it online,’ but really, we don’t have the capacity to do that due to our technology infrastructure in our school and community.”
Uptmor said that the initial plan for Grant School District is to provide take-home packets, which will be delivered to students at bus stops or at school doors. On March 30, school leaders in the county are planning to meet with faculty to find a way to work with students and assess viable options, but students will still be provided lunch after spring break.
Prairie City Superintendent Casey Hallgarth said that all the superintendents in the county are on the same page since they talk once week through a conference call. He also said this is a unique situation because this has never happened before with schools closing for a pandemic.
“We’re trying our best, but right now no one, including Oregon Department of Education and Gov. Brown, have any answers, and that’s to be expected because we have never dealt with this before,” Hallgarth said.
With plans in development and unanswered questions to address, Hallgarth said he wanted to assure parents and students that this is a bump in the road and that everybody is going to make it through.
Long Creek Superintendent Karl Coghill said that one unfortunate part of the shutdown has been its affect on graduation. He hopes that seniors will have a chance to enjoy a graduation ceremony since many of them have built their life to that moment.
School leaders are working with ODE to figure out how seniors will meet graduation requirements and how the educational needs of students will be met.