Reopening Update: November 13, 2020
Dear TIS Community,
I hope that this update finds you and your family in good health. As I finish this letter, Governor Brown has announced a two-week “freeze” on most activities, with the likelihood that Multnomah County will last even longer. This week’s County metrics reflect the rapid increase in cases that are registering all across the nation. We can follow the county data on the TIS Metrics Tracker for the last three weeks as they moved from orange to red for case rates and from yellow, to orange to red for case positivity.
We are still able to operate our in-person Preschool and Kindergarten programs, as well as our Grade 1-5 emergency childcare, during this freeze. However, we know that this new order will be stressful and difficult for many of you, especially those of you with Thanksgiving plans. As Governor Brown acknowledged, this seemingly endless pandemic can leave us all “tired, frustrated, and grieving.” If you or your children need to talk or vent, please do reach out to us. We are here.
Option to Consider: Limited In-Person Instruction
In last week’s update, I mentioned that the administration was looking into different possibilities for connecting with our students. This week, I would like to provide you with more details about what we are considering.
The guidelines provided by The Oregon Department of Education in Ready Schools, Safe Learners contains some latitude for exceptions where in-person learning is concerned. The exception is called Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI). LIPI has a broader metric target of 200 cases of less per 100,000 in order to operate, and could continue until the case metrics for full reopening are met.
The International School would be able to meet the criteria to offer this limited in-person instruction to Grades 1-5 once the metrics are met. This is one of the reasons we are investigating this possibility. Here are some of the limitations of LIPI:
- The time any single cohort can spend in a school building in a given day is two consecutive hours and cannot be intermittent.
- Students would attend LIPI sessions voluntarily; attendance would not be compulsory.
- LIPI should not replace Comprehensive Distance Learning; it would be in addition to Remote Learning.
- Groups must operate in stable cohorts no larger than twenty students.
- Students cannot be part of more than two cohorts in any given week.
- The school has in place and follows all of the required guidelines for health as outlined in Ready Schools, Safe Learners.
TIS is capable of building a schedule that would allow for individual classes of students to come to campus for in-person instruction for two hours on one or more days a week. Please note that Preschool and Kindergarten would continue to operate on-campus as it already has been.
While we are working on the logistics, we need information from YOU. This will also help us design our LIPI offerings. We have crafted a very short preliminary survey, below, to help us in this regard. If you have a child in Grade 1 through 5: please take a moment and provide your response.
Please remember that as we gather information from you to further develop our plans, the case rate for Multnomah County is currently 240 cases per 100,000. If we do offer limited in-person Instruction, it would not begin until cases are below 200 per 100,000 and trends are on the decrease. New rates will be updated on Monday.
Thank you, Kindergarten parents, for helping us to test SchoolPass, the mobile app designed for arrival and dismissal, this past week. It allows parents to complete their child’s wellness check from home in the morning. It also detects once a parent or caregiver is on campus, and then allows for student check-in and check-out.
There are still a few remaining glitches that we need to work out, so I would like to ask our kindergarten parents to continue to use the app next week as well. Once we have things running smoothly in Kindergarten, we will begin using it with other grades on campus.
We are now only a week away from our first-ever virtual TIS Global Gala, which will take place a week from this Saturday on November 21. We hope that you and your kids will be able to join us from your living room. Tickets are free this year, and there are some really special things planned that will be fun for everyone. There will be something for everyone.
Hang in there, everyone.