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Butte Falls Charter School to resume in-person learning

Back to school, 123rf.com
The school had been in virtual learning for the past two weeks due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases among students and families

After a high number of coronavirus cases forced a return to virtual learning for two weeks, Butte Falls Charter School will return to in-person instruction Tuesday.

“COVID swept through our community pretty intensely, and there are still new cases emerging,” Dr. Phil Long, the school’s superintendent, wrote in an email to the Mail Tribune. “But based on the guidance provided by the Jackson County Health Department, we think our two-week campus closure provided sufficient isolation/quarantining time. The kids in the local neighborhood are itching to get back on campus.”

Standard services, including buses and meals, will resume. In addition, middle school athletics (girls basketball and wrestling) will start up again with an away game in Cave Junction “if all goes well on their end,” Long wrote.

He then pointed to a number of things he is proud of as far as his school’s response to the pandemic, including the ability to send most of the students home with Chromebook laptops before heading home for virtual learning — and personally delivering a few more to households as needed after the school temporarily closed.

Similarly, the charter school was able to get younger students home with “learning packets” before reverting to virtual learning — and deliver more course materials personally to homes as needed.

Limited meal service, dropped off by school staff at individual students’ homes, was made possible by the school’s head chef.

Long noted, too, that Butte Falls Charter School extended distance learning through Friday during both weeks — even though it is a Monday-Thursday school — allowing students and faculty to make up a day of teaching and learning that they lost in December due to snow.

The recent reversal from in-person to virtual learning began Jan. 10, when Long announced the change was necessary after a number of students tested positive for COVID-19 and their families suggested they themselves had symptoms. In addition to students being sent home with the equipment and materials they needed to complete instruction from home, all of the school’s extracurricular activities were canceled.

When it came time to re-evaluate whether in-person learning should resume Jan. 18, Long again sent out a letter, saying such a module would not continue until at least this Tuesday, after the school found families that were not experiencing coronavirus before were suddenly experiencing symptoms.

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.