July 31 CY Check In

Good morning,

 I hope our Cal Young community is healthy and eager for the approaching school year.  I know our staff certainly misses the connection to our students and families.

 The purpose of this email is to simply communicate progress and to ensure our families have received communication from the 4J School District.  I have pasted the most recent communication from 4J School District below.  Please make note of the 4J online information sessions on August 6 and August 10.

 Many of you know that our school district will start all students in distance learning.  We will remain in distance learning models until we meet the guidelines established by state and federal health experts and directed by our Governor (more specifics below).  While we all prefer in person learning, I do have confidence our schools will be more effective with distance learning for the coming school year.  For example, rather than using Google Classroom for the primary mode of instruction and communication with students, our school district has invested in a LMS (learning management system), called Canvas, for all secondary schools.  Canvas is a much more organized platform for remote instruction and learning and has portals for teachers, students, and parents.  Additionally, there will be synchronous teaching and learning for all students daily during distance learning; In other words, students will be expected to log in and learn from staff at specific times daily.  There will also be attendance taken and grading for the daily connections.

We will also be ready to shift into “hybrid” learning (part online, part in person) should the opportunity arise.  If we do host students on campus, then there will be “cohorting” of students through their academic classes to lessen the number of connections each student makes in a school day.  We will also have strict cleaning and public health protocols to prioritize safety and the health of our students and staff.  If you are interested in the policies and procedures guiding our schools, then please review the most recent Ready Schools, Safe Learners document produced by the Oregon Department of Education.

 As far as information about student schedules, registration, etc… this will be coming.  For now, we continue to evaluate the guidelines and policies and will message opportunities when available.

 We are so hopeful you will continue learning as a Cal Young Cougar this year.  It will be a new experience, but I believe strongly in our community of teachers and learners.  Our students will continue to grow academically and socially while learning in a safe and healthy environment.

 In your service,

Chris Mitchell

CYMS Principal


4J Parent News: Update on Return to Learning 

Dear 4J families,

We have an update to share about plans for returning to learning in the coming school year.

Yesterday afternoon the State of Oregon issued new rules for opening schools to in-person instruction, requiring a consistently low rate of new COVID cases. Neither Lane County nor the state are currently meeting those low rates of new infection. Many school districts in Oregon now are changing their plans to start the year with online learning.

Eugene School District 4J anticipated this and was already planning to start the school year online for at least the first four weeks, to build a strong foundation for remote teaching and learning, with some on-site school days for our youngest students in the first weeks of school if possible. 4J is committed to offering every child a high-quality education, five days a week, with daily contact from our dedicated teachers.

We continue to plan for all students to return to school buildings with a hybrid or blend of on-site and online instruction during the 2020–21 school year, once public health conditions improve and all appropriate health and safety measures are in place. It is possible that our students’ return to school buildings will be delayed until we see a consistently lower rate of new cases in our county.

In order for schools to reopen for in-person instruction for all grades, both the state and county must meet the new required COVID-19 test baseline numbers. We were at these rates in Lane County in May and June, but are not meeting them now. They are our new community-wide goal:

  • 10 or fewer positive cases per 100,000 population in Lane County in the preceding week, for three weeks in a row. Lane County has been above this threshold throughout July.
  • Positive results in 5% or less of COVID-19 tests in Lane County and in Oregon in the preceding week, for three weeks in a row. This is currently being met in Lane County but not statewide.

For schools to open their doors for students in grades K–3, the new rules have a different threshold, 30 or fewer new cases per 100,000 population. Children under 10 have been shown to get the virus at lower rates, get less sick, and spread the virus less than older students and adults. The district is examining the nuances of this new provision and will keep families updated on any revised plans for K–3 students.

To families who have been hesitant about a return to in-person instruction in the midst of a pandemic, it may be a relief to have clear, consistent, evidence-based metrics and strict standards developed by doctors and health experts at the Oregon Health Authority, working with education experts at the Oregon Department of Education and the Early Learning Division, guiding when schools may resume on-site learning with extensive health and safety precautions. Families who prefer 100% online learning, with no on-site learning at all, may choose the Eugene Online Academy—please complete the interest form by August 10.

We also understand that any delay in returning to on-site learning, based on these metrics and our local public health data, will be a disappointment to many students and families who have been anticipating a return to school buildings and some semblance of normalcy.

Our priorities remain the health and safety of our students, staff and families, and our students’ academic growth and social emotional wellbeing.

We invite you to join us for an online information session at one of the following times:

  • Thursday, August 6, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
  • Monday, August 10, 1:00–2:00 p.m.

In the meantime, you will find the answers to many questions about returning to learning in 4J schools in the Frequently Asked Questions posted on the district website. New questions and answers will be added over time.

We will continue to share updates with families as new information develops.

Thank you for your continued patience, grace and understanding as we navigate the challenges of this pandemic together. Online or on-site, Eugene School District 4J will provide the best education and care we can for all of our students.