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Board Meeting Summary: Dec. 16, 2020

December 16, 2020
School Board Work Session & Regular Meeting

On Wednesday, Dec. 16, the school board held a work session and regular meeting. The meeting was held virtually in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. The meeting was open to the public via live video on Zoom, audio stream, and radio broadcast on KRVM 1280-AM.

Work Session

The board met to continue work on the All Students Belong board initiative regarding a districtwide student safety plan. The board defined the three to five priorities for this effort and discussed work that will start in January 2021. The board discussed what data it would like to review as the process moves forward. A subcommittee of the board will reach out to several possible facilitators regarding their interest, availability and qualifications for supporting a work group that will support the All Students Belong initiative. The subcommittee will recommend the names of two facilitators to the full board for a selection decision at a later meeting.

Regular Meeting

Introductory Comments

Interim Superintendent Cydney Vandercar noted the recent completion of the fall trimester for middle and high school students and that 4J students and staff soon will enjoy a welcome respite during the upcoming winter break. She discussed the district’s ongoing planning for the eventual return of students to on-site learning next year, if public health conditions allow.

Items for Information (no board action is expected to be taken)

Received an update on COVID-19 and comprehensive distance learningDistrict staff discussed the public health metrics set by Oregon officials to guide school district decision-making in returning students to on-site learning. The COVID-19 case rate in Lane County is currently too high for 4J students to start hybrid on-site/online learning in alternating weeks, but the district is planning for that eventuality.

February 1 is the earliest that 4J’s youngest students may return to school buildings in a hybrid model if public health conditions allow, followed by older grades in later weeks and middle and high schools after spring break. These dates will be delayed if COVID-19 case rate in Lane County remains high.

The district will assess public health conditions on a rolling weekly basis to determine when the hybrid model may begin. The district’s rollout plan will provide staff and families about two weeks’ notice before students return to school buildings once public health conditions allow the start of hybrid learning.

Responsive to requests from 4J families and staff, families were provided the option of attending on-site or continuing learning all-online once the hybrid model begins. (Families chose their pathway in August and were provided the opportunity to change their selection in November.) When hybrid learning begins, students enrolled in the Same School Hybrid learning pathway will begin learning on-site and online in alternating weeks. Students enrolled in the Same School Online pathway will continue learning at home.

To make this possible, elementary students in the all-online option and those who will attend school in-person half the time will be grouped into separate classrooms. This will require some students to have a different teacher or class grouping. Students continuing online learning will be placed in classrooms with other students from their school. Some online classrooms will have blended grades and in some cases will have students from neighboring schools. The district is in the process of hiring 12 elementary school teachers to support schools to provide both hybrid and online options and shrink class sizes. Elementary classes will be reconfigured starting February 1, the start of the new semester.

The district also is planning to expand limited in-person instruction to meet specific learning and support needs for selected students as early as January 19, if public health conditions improve.

The Oregon School Activities Association recently approved an updated three-season model, with fall sports (football, soccer, volleyball and cross country) beginning in February; spring sports (baseball, softball, track and field, golf and tennis) starting in April; and winter sports (basketball, swimming, wrestling) commencing in May. 4J’s student athletes are slated to begin preseason conditioning and training for fall sports on Jan. 19, presenting logistical and scheduling challenges as in-person workouts are prohibited indoors and outdoor group sizes are capped at 50.

Received 4J’s financial report for the fourth quarter of the 2021 fiscal year (July 1–Sept. 30): The report includes updated numbers for the district’s operating budget and Nutrition Services program.

Items for Action

Adopted revisions to board policies: The board approved revisions to several policies:
– GBEB – Communicable Diseases – Staff
– JHCC – Communicable Diseases – Students
– GBL – Personnel Records
– GBH/JECAC – Staff/Student/Parent Relations > Custodial and Noncustodial Parents
– JECAC/GBH – Staff/Student/Parent Relations > Custodial and Noncustodial Parents

The  changes to GBL – Personnel Records relate to sharing investigatory or other personnel information with outside agencies when an employee is suspected of child abuse or sexual conduct. The other revisions also are intended to align the board policies with current state regulations or best practices. The vote was unanimous.

Approved legislative priorities for the 2021 session: The board’s legislative priorities include ensuring stable funding in basic school support; continuing and expanding support for the rollout of the Student Success Act; supporting a state waiver to reduce the amount of standardized testing this year; and minimizing the impact enrollment shifts stemming from the coronavirus pandemic have on state financial support to K–12 schools. The vote was unanimous.

• Approved items on the consent agenda: The board approved various personnel actions; authorized the maximum number of interdistrict transfers of students into and out of the district that 4J will grant during the 2021–22 school year; authorized restructuring the licensed administrator salary schedule to address market conditions; and accepted 4J’s 2019–20 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and KRVM-FM’s annual financial report. The vote was unanimous.

Items for Future Action (board action is expected at a later meeting)

Considered instructional hours for the 2020–21 school year: State education rules require school districts to provide a minimum number of instructional hours to students: 900 for grades K–8, 990 for grades 9–11, and 966 for high school seniors. With students learning online and in hybrid learning models during the coronavirus pandemic, the Oregon Department of Education is allowing school districts to include up to 90 hours of staff professional development and up to 90 hours of parent-teacher communication to meet the minimum instructional hours required under state rules. 4J is not currently utilizing the full 180 hours of allowances under current online learning schedules, but the superintendent recommends the board authorize the one-year allowances at its next meeting to provide flexibility in school schedule planning as the district plans for the eventual return of students to in-person learning.

Public Input

The board heard live public comment via Zoom. Two speakers spoke about the district’s planning to resume in-person learning, 4J’s legislative priorities and the All Students Belong initiative. To request to speak to the school board, community members may complete an online request form by 12 p.m. on the Monday before the next regular board meeting.

Residents also submitted public comment via email to board@4j.lane.edu. The board read, reviewed and took into consideration all comments submitted by email by 12 p.m. the day of the meeting.

Agenda and Materials

Dec. 16 agenda and materials
Dec. 16 board work session recording
Dec. 16 regular meeting recording


NOTE:  This is a quick summary of the topics and actions at a meeting of the school board. This document is NOT the official minutes of the school board. Official minutes are posted after they are drafted, reviewed and approved by the board. Audio recordings of meetings are typically posted within two days after the meeting. 

School Board Meeting Schedule & Information

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