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Returning to In-Person Learning This Spring

A message from Superintendent Cydney Vandercar

Elementary Change Form: Same School Online ↔ Hybrid
Solicitud de cambio: Modelo híbrido ↔ en líneaMás información

February 9 Update

Dear 4J families,

Our students will begin safely returning to school buildings in a hybrid on-site learning model this spring. This will start with the youngest grades and add grade levels over time.

The school board has unanimously voted in support of reopening schools for hybrid on-site learning on a rolling basis, after school staff for each grade level have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated and develop immunity.

The first grades, kindergarten and first grade, may begin hybrid on-site learning before spring break, starting the week of March 15, depending on vaccine availability and local public health conditions.


Conditions for Return 

4J students will return to school buildings for on-site learning in a hybrid model, starting with the youngest grades and adding grade levels over time, when:

  • Local public health conditions meet Oregon’s advisory metrics for reopening schools
  • School staff for each grade level have had the opportunity to get both doses of vaccine
  • Plus two weeks to develop immunity and for schools and families to prepare for transition

Getting Ready to Return 

Eugene School District 4J has been planning for hybrid on-site instruction since last summer, with a careful eye on local public health conditions, which influence when and how our school buildings may reopen. Weekly updates on local COVID rates are posted on the district website.

4J educators have now begun receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Two doses of vaccine are needed at least a few weeks apart, followed by some time to develop immunity from the vaccine.

About one-fifth of 4J’s team have received the first dose of vaccine so far—starting with the staff with the most contact with students and community, and those who work with the youngest grades that will be the first to begin hybrid in-person learning when the time comes.

Over the coming weeks vaccines will be available to all education staff and to other groups in Oregon’s rollout plan, but this will take time, as vaccine supplies are limited while production ramps up.

Potential Timeline for Return 

The timeline could look like the following. This is a potential timeline with example dates.

Specific dates can’t be certain at this time, as they depend in part on the availability of vaccines, as well as local public health metrics.

Families will be notified at least about two weeks before the hybrid model begins for their student’s grade.


A Closer Look at Hybrid Learning 

Our youngest students will return to school buildings first, followed by students in older grades. Students will attend school in a hybrid model, on-site and off-site in alternating groups.

Following is an overview of what hybrid learning will look like at elementary schools. More details about what to expect in an on-site school day will be shared before the hybrid model begins, so students and parents know what to expect.

What will the hybrid model look like at elementary schools?

On-Site Days:

  • School start times similar to regular school schedule — 7:55 a.m. or 8:45 a.m.
  • Shorter 5-hour school day with lunch and recess
  • Free school meals offered for all students
  • Extensive health and safety measures include face masks, distancing, cleaning, hygiene and ventilation

Off-Site Days:

  • School hours similar to on-site days
  • Combination of synchronous (“live”) and asynchronous (“on-demand”) learning
  • Less live teacher time than in distance learning

What will the online-only model look like at elementary schools?

  • School hours similar to hybrid model
  • Combination of synchronous (“live”) and asynchronous (“on-demand”) learning
  • More live teacher time than in hybrid off-site days
  • May have less live teacher time than in distance learning for all
  • Some classrooms will have blended grades and/or include students from neighboring schools


Choose Your Learning Location

We recognize that each family situation is unique and that some families are eager for students to return to in-person learning, while others are concerned about making this change too soon.

Families chose a learning pathway for their students in August, and were invited to change pathways in November. Since then, safe and effective vaccines have become available for school staff, and the metrics for reopening schools have changed.

Before students return to school buildings, 4J is offering families one more opportunity to change their choice from online-only to hybrid learning or from hybrid to online-only. Families should make the best choice for their student to learn either all online or in-person some days.

Elementary school families enrolled in the “Same School Hybrid” or “Same School Online” pathways will receive an email and text today with their student’s ID number, current enrollment pathway, and information about how to change to the other pathway if they wish.

Elementary Pathway Change Form: Same School Online ↔ Hybrid (open through Feb. 9 Feb. 14) 
Solicitud de cambio para estudiantes de primaria: Modelo híbrido ↔ en línea (hasta el 9 de feb. 14 de feb.)

Middle and high school families will have the opportunity to change their learning pathway choice in March, before Trimester 3 begins.

Families only need to respond if they want to make a change. No action is needed if you are satisfied with your student’s current choice of hybrid or online.


Thank You

Thank you for your continued engagement and support throughout this challenging year.

We all look forward to being able to safely reopen 4J school buildings and welcome students back into classrooms as soon as possible. Our priorities remain the health and safety of our students, staff and families, and our students’ academic growth and social emotional wellbeing.

– Cydney Vandercar
Interim Superintendent
Eugene School District 4J


Learn More

Previous Updates:
Return to In-Person Learning Updates (Jan. 20)
Return to In-Person Learning Updates (Jan. 7)

More Information: 
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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