Dear SFSD Families and Friends,

Over the past four weeks, we created and shared our Hybrid plan to reopen schools this Fall. Each step of this process involved complex challenges. There simply is no playbook, nor protocol, for navigating through this crisis. I am grateful for your patience, as well as for the tireless work that our district’s teachers, nurses, administrators, and advisory committees have done to deliver a reopening plan that is both safe and addresses the needs of our community.

On Tuesday of this week, we received additional information from Governor Brown, which outlined the new county-based requirements necessary to reopen schools. I have included this information in a link below. In short, Marion County does not meet the minimum requirements for “test positivity rate”, and as a result, SFSD cannot yet reopen school buildings. The minimum threshold set by the Governor and the Oregon Health Authority is 5% or less, and the current rate is 6.5%. Moreover, once this rate dips below the threshold, it must remain there for 21 consecutive days. Furthermore, SFSD serves two counties (Marion and Clackamas), and we have been informed that both counties must meet the minimum requirements before our district can reopen its schools.

Knowing that we are under an incredibly short timeline, we feel a sense of urgency to make a final decision so that our families can begin to make arrangements. We have also sought consultation from our neighboring school districts relative to the likelihood that the current data will begin to trend downward enough to give us some certainty upon which to base our decision.

After many hours of deliberation, we have concluded that the only path forward is for all students to begin the school year in an online environment, until the end of the quarter on November 13.

We have designed two independent but related paths for this school year, and each family can select one or the other for each of their students. We’d like to introduce you to Fox Hybrid and Fox Online.

Students in Fox Hybrid will begin the school year fully online, and transition to a combination of in-school and independent online activities beginning November 16th at the earliest, with the possibility of this date shifting later in the year based on county health data.Students in Fox Online will attend school in a 100% online model for the entire 2020-21 school year.

With these two paths in mind, the school year will begin as follows:

  1. All SFSD students will begin the 2020-2021 school year on Monday, September 14, in either Fox Hybrid or Fox Online.
  2. By default, all students will be enrolled in Fox Hybrid. However, all families have the choice to opt-in to Fox Online for any or all of their students. The application for Fox Online is here. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 pm, Sunday, August 9th.
  3. Our district will make a determination by October 5, based on Marion and Clackamas county health data, whether students on the Fox Hybrid path will move to partial in-school instruction on November 16th, or if that date will be pushed further into the school year.
  4. Both Fox Hybrid and Fox Online classes will be taught by SFSD teachers in each of your school communities.
  5. Once the application deadline for Fox Online has passed, we will email families additional information specific to that program, along with a commitment form, list of expectations, and a timeline for use in the event that you wish to switch your child’s program during the school year.
  6. As we move forward, we will also be conducting parent surveys to allow for community input and feedback that will assist us in planning and preparation for these new conditions.

Finally, on behalf of the entire SFSD family, I want to acknowledge our disappointment that schools will not reopen this Fall as we had hoped. We know how important our schools are to our community, especially for those students in need of extra academic and social-emotional support. I would also like to thank you, our community, for sending us your thoughts and ideas in a way that has pushed us to better serve our students and families. Your grace, understanding, and thoughtfulness has been appreciated and noticed.

If you’d like to read more about the Ready Schools, Safe Learners Community Metrics, please see this link. For more details, see this week’s new FAQ entries, below.

Scott Drue (he, him, his)
Superintendent | Silver Falls School District
Where EVERY Student Thrives…

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When students are learning online… is this similar to what was done in the spring?
A: No, we expect both students and parents will find this Fall’s experience to be very unlike that of the Spring. Our online learning program will include the use of Canvas educational software district-wide, as well as contracted curriculum and online tools from Edgenuity. Also unlike the Spring closure, this is truly online learning of new content. Students will receive actual grades for work done in the online format as well.

Q: What sorts of differences should I expect between the curriculum of Fox Online and Fox Hybrid?
A: Both paths will feature the same curriculum provided by Edgenuity, covering all academic content areas. When Fox Hybrid students return to partial in-person attendance, they will still use the Edgenuity curriculum, with the inclusion of Social/Emotional Learning activities while in school buildings.

Q: Does that mean that teachers will not be able to teach their own curriculum this year and will be forced to use Edgenuity?
A: No. Edgenuity is a baseline tool for our teachers to utilize. Many will already have their own curriculums and tools, which they can load onto Canvas.

Q: If my student attends school in Fox Online, are they still eligible for school activities like clubs and sports?
A: Yes. Fox Online and Fox Hybrid students are equally eligible for all school activities and athletics.

Q: I heard that this new guidance from our governor allows for school districts in counties with case rates lower than 30 per 100,000, for three consecutive weeks, to have K-3 students return to an in-person Hybrid model. Is that something SFSD is going to do?
A: Should conditions improve, and we make the decision to have K-3 students back in school, we will notify our families well in advance of this shift.

Q: What about school lunches?
A: The district’s food service team will ensure every student has access to school meals. We will share more information about the logistics of food service this year at a later date.

Q: What about families with limited internet access?
A: Just as with the limited distance learning program from this past Spring, the district is committed to ensuring that all students have access to learning for this school year. We are currently hard at work to identify ways to mitigate the access disparities that exist in our district, both in terms of devices and internet service availability. We’ll have more to announce on this topic in the coming weeks.

Q: What does the Fox Hybrid model that starts on Nov. 16 look like?
A: It follows the originally planned Hybrid model, which can be found below:

SFSD Hybrid Model Graphic