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Budgeting for growth

Eduardo Ramirez prepares a classroom at Henley Middle School in this June 2019 file photo. Klamath County School District plans to open to some in-classroom learning when school restarts August 31.

Students in the Klamath County School District likely will be returning to classrooms this fall, under a hybrid-learning model that balances in-person instruction with distance learning.

“Based on parent feedback, our goal is to maximize face-to-face learning with as much student-teacher contact as possible while safely reopening schools,” said Glen Szymoniak, superintendent of the Klamath County School District.

Szymoniak said the district’s plan gives the schools flexibility to fully reopen once they can meet all state guidelines and determine their distance-learning program is successful for every student.

“We know that guidance and state mandates can change overnight, and we want our students to be set up for success if we are ordered to provide remote learning fulltime,” he said.

Schools statewide have been closed since March 16 to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The plan follows current Oregon Department of Education Ready Schools, Safe Learners Guidance that provides clear health and safety reopening protocols as well as social distancing mandates that limit the number of students school districts can accommodate in classrooms and on their buses.

The 2020-21 school year for students is scheduled to begin Aug. 31.

In addition to hybrid-instruction, the school district’s plan includes online and distance learning programs for students who are not able to, or would prefer not to, return to a school campus.

“Our plans to reopen schools this fall set students up for success academically, emotionally, and socially,” Szymoniak said.

Under what the district is calling its A-B hybrid plan, students will be with their teacher in the classroom two days a week and participate in distance learning the other three days. Each school will divide students into two groups — A and B. Within those groups, students will remain in small cohorts throughout the day. The cohort attends classes and other activities together, enabling schools to limit and track day-to-day intermingling.