Santiam Canyon Closure Update: 3-29-2020

March 29, 2020

Dear Santiam Community and Staff,

We stand together as a community as we navigate this interesting time. We are working to find new ways to connect to our students, support our families and figure out our next steps as a school district. Continue to stay home and stay well. Below are some updates:


  • The statewide school closure is still scheduled through April 28. We all wonder if this will be extended, but it is unknown. If anything changes, we will get that information out ASAP.
  • As a side note, our virtual charter school, Oregon Connections Academy, is allowed to stay ‘open’ for existing students, but is no longer allowed to enroll new students based on the latest mandate from the Oregon Department of Education during the closure. This rule is in effect for all Oregon online schools now.


  • We handed out instructional packets and Chromebooks last week on Wednesday and Thursday. We had a large response from families and loaned around 250 Chromebooks. Big kudos to Sam Proctor, our Tech Guru, for getting all the Chromebooks set up and ready!
  • For families still in need of instructional resources for grades K-12 and/or Chromebooks, you have two options. You can either pick them up at our lunch/breakfast sites listed below OR call the District Office at 503-897-2321 to schedule a pickup time.
  • The home instructional materials are designed to keep students engaged in learning and are not required. Additionally, parents can get creative with this time and help students explore individual interests. Set a schedule for your child, establish some rules and guidelines for the day and help them set goals. This could be a great time to work on skills you or your child have wanted to focus on. Use their interests as motivation to learn and grow!
  • We will be adding online resources into our website this coming week. We will let you know when they are available.


  • IMPORTANT UPDATE: The lunch/breakfast deliveries starting this week will only be Monday-Thursday, although on Thursday each child will get two lunches and breakfasts. The delivery schedule is below:

11:00-11:20- Idanha Community Church, 397 Church St.
11:30-11:50- Fire Hall, 107 Hwy 22

12:00-12:20- Fire Hall, 160 Detroit Ave. N

Mill City
12:00-12:30- Santiam Jr/Sr High School Cafeteria 265 SW Evergreen St

10:40-11:00- Fire Hall, 140 E Sorbin St.
11:10-11:30- Sierra Market, 302 Hwy 22


  • Guidance is still coming to tell us what will happen with our instructional schedule or added calendar days. This is unknown for all Oregon schools at this time.
  • We have seen draft ideas for high school seniors and graduation. The details are not final, but they are proposing to reduce the amount of credits needed to graduate, essentially making it to where seniors who were on track to graduate will be fine to do so at the end of this school year, even if we do not come back. Also, the senior requirement of passing essential skills tests would be removed this year under the draft plan.
  • State Testing for all grades has been cancelled this year.
  • There has been concerns expressed from parents that their child could possibly have to repeat their current grade based on the amount of missed school this year. So far, I have heard nothing from the Department of Education that would indicate that children will need to repeat their current grade. So far, all indications are that students will move forward next year. All Oregon students (and many around the country) are in the same boat as you right now!


  • Thank you to those of you who came in and helped get the instructional packets together and handed out last week. We are well ahead of many school districts, which is a big help to our families and students at home.
  • Also, thank you to the staff who are continuing to work to support our essential duties around the schools and for our families. It is much appreciated!
  • Staff, expect to hear from me later this week about possible next steps for instructional supports and work schedules. Thank you for your patience, as our next phase of planning is now in the works.


  • One of the mandates for schools within the latest Executive Order from the Governor is that schools must support health care workers with childcare. This is only for workers defined within the Order. We are partnering with North Santiam School District to stand up a childcare center in Stayton, with ages and details still to be determined.
  • If you are a health care worker and are interested in learning more about this childcare option, please email Todd Miller at
  • Additionally, Santiam Staff, if you have an interest in working at this childcare center in Stayton, please let me know. As mentioned, details are still being ironed out.


  • For those who have not seen, the back of the SJSHS campus looks completely different. The house is gone, the greenhouse is gone, the tennis courts are gone, the temporary modular classrooms are gone… it is almost a blank slate ready for the crews to now prep for buildings. Exciting! This week, demo will start on the SES covered area out front, in preparation for the cafeteria. If you get bored and are looking to get out of the house, drive the school campus and take a look.
  • Since we could not do a groundbreaking ceremony at this time, we did do a ‘virtual groundbreaking’ last week. Well, to make it more fun and entertaining, we did a ‘virtual house smashing’. To see the video, check it out on the Santiam Canyon School District Facebook page at

Thank you for your support and patience these last few weeks. It has been a whirlwind!

Most importantly, WE MISS OUR STUDENTS!

Todd Miller, Superintendent