School Buildings Prepare For Return of Students


Lillith Ahlers, Senior Reporter


Students at all levels may soon find themselves back in the classrooms of North Clackamas schools. Over this past year, there have been many decisions regarding how students should be educated while attending the North Clackamas School District (NCSD).  The school board last year decided to move to remote online learning, in the Comprehensive Distance Learning model (CDL). On February 25, the NCSD School Board met to discuss the future of schools reopening in the district. Superintendent Matt Utterback’s presentation included data that helped the Board decide to move into hybrid learning. 

The changes include Implementing grades Kindergarten (K) through first-grade into the hybrid learning model when employees working with grades K-1have had the opportunity for the COVID-19 vaccine and after the Clackamas County Health Metrics for Returning to In-Person Instruction were below 200 cases per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks. 

After two weeks, the elementary hybrid model would expand to grades two through three when employees working with those said grades have had the opportunity for the COVID-19 vaccine, and with Clackamas County still meeting the health metrics.

Jack Ahlers, a junior at Rex Putnam High School was asked about his reaction to the new recommendations approved by the board. “The variants of COVID-19 make it more dangerous for students, teachers, and staff to get back. I don’t think students and teachers should go back to school because of new mutations/variants.” Ahlers also reacted about teachers and staff getting vaccinated. He said, “If everyone gets vaccinated it will make a difference.” When Ahlers was asked if he would go back to school, he said no because he “didn’t feel safe enough”.

Ruby Ureña is a sophomore at Rex Putnam High School. She was asked her thoughts and reaction to the discussion at the board meeting. “ Honestly, I am a bit worried about schools reopening since the situation we are in has not improved much. Yes, we do have vaccines and people that are already vaccinated, but COVID-19 is still spreading, and anyone can have COVID-19 without knowing. And although children aren’t affected as much by COVID-19 as adults, they are still capable of spreading the virus to their teachers or friends. 

Ureña also said this about expanding the hybrid model sooner than later, “ It’s still pretty risky to try and go back to the old way of learning, due to how easily COVID-19 is spread. Especially since younger children tend to touch a lot of things and touch their faces a lot along with putting their hands in their mouths. 

Ureña was asked when we would go back to school, would she go as well she said, “I would choose to not join the hybrid model if we were given a choice since I would be less at risk of getting infected.”

Details about the return of high school students are still under consideration as district staff is working out details.  A small LIPI trial is currently underway for select seniors who attend an afternoon session to make up for credit needed in order to graduate on time.