Gov. Brown's new COVID-19 rules impact Douglas County schools

Under the new plan, Douglas County currently falls under the “on-site and distance learning” phase.

Posted: Nov 2, 2020 6:31 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Days after Gov. Kate Brown’s new school metrics announcement on Friday, teachers in Douglas County say they still have mixed feelings.

Under the new plan, Douglas County currently falls under the “on-site and distance learning” phase. That means if the county has 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 people in one two-week period, they can bring kindergarteners through sixth graders back to the classroom.

According to public health officials, Douglas County reported just over sixty cases in the past two weeks.

Camron Pope, president of the Roseburg Education Association, told KEZI 9 News that some teachers are excited about the new guidance, while others are concerned for their health.

“There are 320 different members of the Roseburg Education Association,” he said. “We have 320 opinions about it.”

Pope also works as a fifth-grade teacher at Eastwood Elementary School in Roseburg Public Schools.

He said kindergarteners through third graders have been in-person learning since the beginning of October under the previous metrics. They have been using the cohort method, which is splitting the students into smaller groups to minimize spread.

Pope said he is confident his students will do their best to keep the virus out of the schools, based on how the younger students have been doing so far.

“I just think at this point having students is more of a benefit than the risks of the virus,” he said.

Kate McLaughlin, the superintendent at South Umpqua School District, said they have found success with the cohort model. In the last few weeks, they have reported four COVID-19 cases in the district.

However, she said they are all unrelated.

“There’s been zero spread among our teachers and students,” she said. “That tells us our safety measures are working.”

Pope said Roseburg Public Schools hopes to bring fourth through sixth graders back by mid-November.

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