Santiam Canyon School Plans for Fall 2020: Q&A

June 26, 2020

This page was last updated on July 26, 2020 (check back for periodic updates as they develop)

Q: Who determines what our schooling model will look like?

A: Based on the parent and staff survey information and student needs, school administration will develop a plan for fall that must then be approved by the local school board, along with approval from the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority.


Q: Will in-person school look the same as it used to?

A: Yes and No: It is our goal to return students to supportive classrooms that teach academics, social and emotional skills and allow students the ability to connect with others and find a love of learning. There will be some differences though, to limit exposure and the spread of COVID-19. Free time and communal space uses will look different and social distancing measures will limit some activities. Even with these restrictions, there is room for connection, enjoyment and fun in the school setting. The same caring staff, just some different practices for safety!


Q: Will distance learning look like it did last spring?

A: Yes and No. Yes, in that it will be accessible all the time via Google Classroom and Google Meets, developed by our certified teaching staff. It could look slightly different since we now have some experience with it and have developed ways to better use the system, while also creating more consistent usage across grade levels. Distance Learning would focus on core academics and be available for most (if not all) classes. Also, we will be checking participation in online classes and grades will be given for classes. There will be greater accountability for distance learning next fall, to match expectations and grading for in-person school.


Q: How many kids can you have in a classroom?

A: We must allow 35 square feet of space per person in a room. This varies upon the size of each room, so we take the overall size of the room and divide it by 35, which gives us a maximum occupancy (which includes all students and adults in that room at any one time). To accommodate this requirement, we may need to hire additional staff to reduce some class sizes to fit all students.


Q: Why have the kids go to school everyday as opposed to every other day?

A: Consistency is important for kids and families. Having a consistent family routine makes scheduling easier and a consistent school week will allow parents to plan for childcare. Consistency and predictability is also good for kids’ behavior and academics.


Q: Will my child have to wear a face covering? (Updated answer below)

A: Yes. ODE and OHA updated guidance now requiring all students in grades K-12 to wear a face covering. There are some specific instances that a child may be exempt from this requirement.


Q: Will staff wear face coverings? (Updated answer below)

A: Yes. All staff must wear a face covering (mark or shield).


Q: Will sports be offered next year? (Updated answer below)

A: Unknown: We have received some guidance from the state on athletics. We will keep families posted as we receive information. We understand that fall sports are right around the corner! For the latest update from OSAA, please see this press release:


Q: Will my child be able to play on the playground?

A: Yes. Current guidance allows for playground use with some restrictions. As an example, each class will have their own set of playground equipment and balls. Within that class, the kids can shoot hoops, play wall ball and other games just as before, but those balls and equipment will not be shared between classes. We are still working out how kids can play on the playground structures, as they must be sanitized in between different classes using them. These plans are still in development.


Q: Will there still be bus transportation?

A: Yes. Bus routes will continue, but pickup and dropoff times may change.


Q: If there are COVID-19 cases, what will happen?

A: All confirmed cases from students or staff will be reported to the Oregon Health Authority. They will then guide the district decisions regarding quarantine, partial closures or a full school closure, and how long that needs to last. Until the time comes, it is unknown how each case will be handled. Parents should know that there will continue to be a possibility of closures or quarantine, but we cannot predict them at this time. This is one of the major reasons we want to also run the Distance Learning program, so we are prepared in advance to continue learning.


Q: Will lunches be served?

A: Yes. School lunch will be provided, but it may not be served as before. Students may eat in classrooms or they could eat on rotation schedules, to limit the number of students in a cafeteria at any one time. We are still working out details as to how to offer lunches for families who choose the distance learning model.


Q: Can parents help with this new plan?

A: Yes! We need your support, patience and flexibility to make this happen as we move to a new model of education. For families who choose in-person learning, we really need your help in keeping sick students home until they are well again to limit the chance of exposure to others. Students with COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home, as required in the new guidance. For families who choose distance learning, you will need to support your child and help create an environment conducive to learning. It will take each of us to make this new model work well for our students. #standtogether