Dear Parents and Students of the Ione School District,

This week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Dept. of Education announced new metrics that determine how and when school districts in Oregon will reopen. These metrics are based on the number of COVID-19 cases and the COVID-19 positivity rate per capita––on a countywide level. Based on the feedback we received from you, we are committed to bringing children back to school safely.

In order for the Ione School District to be able to open for in-person instruction for all grades, the following standards must be met in Morrow County for three weeks in a row: · 30 or fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and 5% or less positive tests per week

With these new requirements from the Governor and ODE, it is evident that the Ione School District will not be allowed to open with students on-site in August. This is not the news we had hoped to hear. We understand that the unpredictable nature of this pandemic has caused frustration and uncertainty for families, students, educators and our entire community.

Based on these factors, the Ione School District students will begin the 2020-2021 school year with Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL). In addition, we are delaying the start of school for students until the day after Labor Day, Sept 8th.

We plan to begin the school year with what we are calling “Teacher, Parent, Student” training sessions. Beginning the week of Aug 31st through Sept 3rd, Teachers will be setting up meetings with each family (one student or numerous students) to arrange for a single meeting time that will allow our staff to visit with the students and parents in the family explaining how the New CDL program will work,

We will continue to monitor Morrow County’s metrics and will announce on or before October 16th whether or not we can return to on-site in-person learning. If we can return, students could possibly return to in-person / hybrid learning for the second nine weeks, which begins in Nov 2nd.  We have two options for students this school year and students will need to choose one of them:

1. Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) and In-Person Learning when the   metrics allow.

2. Full-time online using our New Ione Virtual Academy.

Our new Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) model will be distinctly different from what was offered last Spring. Here is what you can expect in the Comprehensive Distance Learning model:

·Ione School District teachers will teach courses each day with graded assignments and course grades. Progress will be monitored and feedback provided.

·Daily instruction from the teacher (live or recorded) will keep students strongly connected to teachers and classmates.

·Students will also have opportunities to receive individual support from their teachers and instructional assistants as needed.

·Clarity will be provided around attendance and participation.

·Greater family engagement and partnership.

The district will also provide services for students on IEPs and those with 504 plans. These individualized supports will be integrated into the Comprehensive Distance Learning model. Special Education teachers and staff members will reach out to families, as we get closer to the beginning of school to provide individualized support.

Families and students who choose to participate in our Full-Time Online program as a more permanent or long-term option will use an online system that allows them to progress at their own rate. Currently this is available for grades 3-12, these students will continue learning online regardless of state metrics and the status of in-person instruction. This program is offered through the Inter-Mountain Educational Service District with “local” Eastern Oregon teachers administering the courses and available to answer questions to make sure students are progressing toward earning credit, but they will be online for at least one semester, and they can continue this type of learning for the entire year if they desire.

In the days ahead, you can expect regular updates from the Ione School District regarding technology and distribution of student devices, class schedules, teacher assignments, student meal distribution and other important information. Please regularly check your email and the district’s website for the most relevant information.

Although this announcement is not what any of us wanted to hear, I hope that it can provide clarity and a plan for students, parents and staff moving forward. This year will be unlike any other school year in history. We know that our students and families will have challenges but we are here to walk this path with you. Your partnership, communication and support are now more than ever, vital to our students’ success. Thank you, Rollie Marshall Superintendent