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Springfield school reopening plan draws criticism, support

The district said more information will be released in the coming weeks.

Posted: Aug 13, 2020 6:33 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Come Sept. 14, younger students in Springfield could be back in the classroom.

"The physical changes are obvious when you walk into the classroom -- you see the desks are six feet apart from each other. What you don't see are the sanitation stations in the hallways," said Superintendent Todd Hamilton with Springfield Public Schools. "The health in our county is allowing for students in grades K-3."

Some parents are on board, some have questions, and some think it's a bad idea and say they're upset by the lack of options.

If parents choose not to send their child back to school in person, they can enroll in SPS Online which has previously been primarily for middle schoolers and high schoolers. 

"My biggest concern is they seem to have made decisions without a lot of parent input," said one mother who wanted to remain anonyous.

She wondered if the school board has to meet over Zoom, how is it safe to put kids back in schools?

"I feel like they gave us these choices and they're saying, 'Oh we got input from parents,' but I feel like parets don't even know what they're saying yes or no to -- we have no idea what's going on," she said.

But why just kindergarten through third grade?

Hamilton said guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority say these age groups get the virus at lower rates and get less sick, meaning schools should provide in-person options for these students.

In-person schooling will be added in a phased approach with kindergarten and first graders returning Sept. 14, second graders the next week, and third graders the week after.

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