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4J Plans for Hybrid Learning in the New Year

A message from Superintendent Cydney Vandercar • Phase-in of hybrid model to start Feb. 1 if public health conditions allow

Getting students safely back to school in-person is a high priority for Oregon and for Eugene School District 4J. The district is planning for a phased-in return of students to school buildings in a hybrid model starting as early as February 1, if public health conditions allow.

Under Oregon’s requirements for safely reopening schools, Lane County must have fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the previous two-week period, and a test positivity rate under 8%, before the district can begin careful phasing in of on-site learning starting with the youngest elementary grades.

Coronavirus case rates in our county currently remain much too high to safely reopen schools under Oregon’s requirements and are even higher in the Eugene metro area. We are looking ahead to the new year, after winter break.

COVID metrics for returning to in-person instruction: Illustration showing "we are here" near 300 cases per 100,000 population

Starting the Hybrid Learning Model

Eugene School District 4J is continuing to plan for students returning to school buildings in the new year in a hybrid model. In the hybrid learning model, groups of students will attend school on-site and online in alternating weeks.

Following Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority rules, this must be carefully phased in over time by grade level, starting with the youngest students, followed by older elementary grades, then middle and high schools.

4J students will continue learning at a distance at least through January.

4J elementary schools will begin phasing in hybrid on-site learning starting February 1, the second semester for elementary schools, if public health conditions allow.

Middle and high school students will return to school buildings in a hybrid model in the third trimester, starting March 29, if public health conditions allow.

Enabling Hybrid and Online Options

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. As noted in earlier information about the online and hybrid options, this will require some students to have a different teacher or class grouping. This change will be challenging, but it is necessary to support the choice each family has made of the learning option that is right for them.

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.

Elementary classes will be reconfigured starting February 1, the start of the new semester. To get teachers and classrooms established, this elementary class reconfiguration is expected to be made on February 1, even if the return to on-site learning is delayed due to public health conditions. Please watch for more information from your school in January.

Providing Targeted In-Person Student Supports

Oregon’s public health restrictions allow for schools engaged in distance learning to provide some limited, targeted in-person supports for students on-site. 4J has been providing on-site supports to a small number of students throughout the fall, and will increase to provide limited in-person instruction and supports to more students in the new year.

Starting in mid-January, if public health conditions have improved, the district plans to expand limited in-person instruction to more selected students to meet specific learning and support needs. A limited number of students will be selected based on multiple measures, including access, academic, and social emotional needs. No student is required to attend on-site.

Families whose students qualify to be offered targeted in-person supports will be contacted directly about their options.

Recap of Potential Dates

Limited in-person instruction: Supports for selected students may start as early as Jan. 19
Hybrid grades K–2: Hybrid model may start as early as Feb. 1, beginning of Semester 2
Hybrid grades 3–5: Hybrid model phased in after younger grades
Hybrid grades 6–12: Hybrid model may start as early as Mar. 29, beginning of Trimester 3

These dates are potential and may change due to public health conditions.

Thank You

Thank you for your continued engagement and support during this unprecedented school year.

We can all help in the effort to get students back to school on-site by following basic public health practices—including avoiding non-essential social contacts, staying at least 6 feet apart, wearing masks outside the home, washing hands frequently, staying home if we’re not feeling well or have been exposed to COVID-19, and cooperating with contact tracing if contacted by public health officials. Thanks to everyone in our community doing your part to reduce the spread.

Our priorities remain the health and safety of our students, staff and families, and our students’ academic growth and social emotional wellbeing. Online or on-site, Eugene School District 4J will continue to provide the best education and care we can for all of our students.

Cydney Vandercar
Interim Superintendent
Eugene School District 4J


Learn More

State Metrics for Hybrid Return
Current Case Rates by County
How to Protect Yourself & Others
Health & Safety for On-Site Learning
4J Return to Learning FAQs 

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