Summer program, in-person instruction guidances released
Thursday, May 21, 2020
The Oregon Department of Education released guidance May 15 for spring and summer programs, including circumstances in which limited, in-person instruction is permitted. This, in conjunction with guidance released by the Oregon Health Authority for summer camp programs, represents a full suite of operations guidance through the remainder of the academic year.
The ODE guidance covers summer school, summer bridge programs, extended school year, compensatory education, enrichment programs and re-entry programs for incarcerated youths. Existing public health and safety considerations are part of all requirements, and the guidance focuses heavily on equity.
“Magnified by the COVID-19 crisis, youth who have been pushed to the edge of the educational system carry the disproportionate weight of meeting academic requirements with challenging factors and conditions,” the guidance states. It urges school districts to put the most vulnerable students in the center of district decision making.
The guidance allows schools to provide in-person instruction for students earning credit for on-time graduation, completing a high school equivalency program, finishing dual-credit or accelerated learning classes, or earning career and technical education certifications. The guidance details requirements for districts, including having an emergency plan and a communicable disease plan.
In-person instruction should only be used when Distance Learning for All won’t work, such as when a student needs a secure testing environment or equipment only available at school, ODE says. Also, in-person lessons should be limited in number, not daily, and held in one classroom with 10 or fewer of the same cohort of students. Changing student groupings should be avoided. The OSBA policy team has worked with ODE to create sample policies and materials to help districts navigate these requirements.
For summer programs, the guidance permits operation between June 1 and Sept. 4 if the school can meet all health and safety obligations. The summer school rules for classrooms mirror the in-person guidance; students should stay in one room and teachers should change classes if multiple instructors are required. The guidance also includes space estimates for maintaining 6 feet of distance. For example, a class with 10-13 people would need 216 square feet.