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Masks coming off for some

McKenzie school survey underway

FINN ROCK: Local students, staff and parents are all being asked for their opinions on proposed changes to Oregon’s indoor face-covering plan expected to be announced on March 31st. At last Wednesday’s McKenzie School Board meeting Superintendent Lane Tompkins noted that a key feature of the change will shift decisions about safeguarding against the spread of Covid-19 away from the state and to individual school districts.

“Removing one layer - of masking - doesn’t mean the other layers will go away,” Tompkins said. He reminded the board those other measures school districts will have to adhere to include sanitation, spacing, and airflow inside buildings.

“We don’t want to get in a position where we’re going to have to shut down school because there’s a case in a classroom or a number of positive cases where everyone ended up getting contact,” the superintendent said.

Luckily, during the two years the district has dealt with Covid restrictions, it didn’t have to shut down the campus or require athletic teams to sit out a season.

Tompkins said he saw progress moving forward and was launching a survey to reach out to different stakeholder groups. “I want them to tell us in a way that is anonymous so they feel they can actually be honest and say what they need to say, instead of feeling like they need to go along with what their peer group might tell them to do,” he explained.

Tompkins said he’d already started contacting the teaching staff and would soon follow up with classified employees, students and parents. Results from those inquiries will help form the recommendations he plans to bring before the board next month.

In other discussions, the superintendent gave a mid-year progress report that showed current enrollment stands at 173 students with 61 percent showing up as regular attendees. Those numbers mean students have been attending 90 or more of the school days available. Tompkins said he expects the attendance would improve, “as we get out of the shadow of the pandemic.”

On the academic front 86 percent of elementary students are now rated as “low risk” for their reading abilities.

During his facilities report, Tompkins said the district should be getting designs to review for the replacement of the athletic field’s stadium that was destroyed by the Holiday Farm Fire. He said Chambers Construction expected to have those documents available by mid-March but cautioned that delivery of the pre-fabricated stadium itself could be delayed by supply chain issues.


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