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Teachers stage 'sickout' at Douglas High School

Parents told KEZI 9 News that more than a dozen teachers called out of freshman orientation day, which was scheduled last Thursday. They said the event was abruptly canceled.

Posted: Oct 5, 2020 6:57 PM
Updated: Oct 8, 2020 10:46 AM

WINSTON, Ore. -- Teachers at Douglas High School allegedly staged a “sickout” last week in protest of the school reopening amid rising COVID-19 cases in Douglas County.

Parents told KEZI 9 News that more than a dozen teachers called out of freshman orientation day, which was scheduled last Thursday. They said the event was abruptly canceled.

Teachers were reportedly concerned the Winston-Dillard School District was going against the reopening metrics set by the state. Douglas County is not currently meeting the requirement of having 10 or fewer cases per 100,000 people a week for school reopening.

“I don’t want to downplay their fears of COVID or of the pandemic, but I think the school had a really good plan in place,” said parent Mande Ronk.

School officials said they had a meeting with the Oregon Department of Education over the weekend. With the number of students in the district limited due to current construction projects, ODE determined that the district is considered rural, which means they fall under different metrics that allows them to reopen for in-person learning.

However, school officials said they will still be reopening under a hybrid learning model, which is what they originally planned.

“I’m excited they were willing to entertain the conversation, I’m excited they were willing to let our school district to reopen,” said board member Brian West.

Monday was the first day of school for the high school. West said half the students will participate in distance learning, while the other half is learning in person. The groups will alternate through the week.

KEZI 9 News reached out to other school officials for further comment on the sickout, but they did not get back to us.

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