Home » Coronavirus COVID-19 » Return to Learning: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Return to Learning: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Eugene School District 4J is back to school. To help keep families informed about 4J students’ return to school during the coronavirus pandemic, this FAQ answers some questions that the district has received.

We know there are many more questions and information is always evolving. This FAQ will be updated over time.

Learning Location
Supports for Learning
Special Education & IEPs
Health & Safety
Return to Learning Pathways
Hybrid On-Site Learning Model
Eugene Online Academy
4J Staff

Learning Location

Q: When will students return to school buildings for on-site learning? 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, students in Eugene School District 4J started the school year online.

Getting students safely back to school in-person is a high priority for Oregon and for Eugene School District 4J. The district is continuing to plan for students returning to school buildings in a hybrid model when public health conditions warrant. The hybrid model will be phased in starting with the youngest grades in March.

In the hybrid learning model, groups of students will attend school on-site and online in alternating groups. Following Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority guidelines, hybrid on-site learning will be carefully phased in over time by grade level, starting with the youngest students, followed by older elementary grades, then middle and high schools.

Information About Hybrid On-Site Learning
Public Health Metrics Weekly Updates


Supports for Learning 

Q: What technology is provided for students to learn at home? 

Every student has been provided with a take-home device for learning. Students in grades K–2 have been provided iPads with protective cases, grades 3–8 are using iPads with keyboards, and high school students have received laptop computers. 

Student Learning Devices

Q: What are the rules for student technology?

The district has established expectations for students’ appropriate use of technology at school and during distance learning, including appropriate conduct and positive digital community membership, virtual meeting behavior, academic integrity, and student device responsibility and protection plan.

Technology Appropriate Use Guidelines

Q: How do I get help with my student’s technology?

You will find frequently requested technology tips and other resources to support students and parents with using their 4J student iPad or laptop and learning apps at 4j.lane.edu/tech-help . If you don’t find the answer to your question, you can request student tech support by submitting an online request or leaving a voicemail in English or Spanish.

Technology Help for Families
Request Tech Support / English voicemail 541-790-7770 / Mensaje en español 541-790-7531

Q: How do I get help with internet access?

For information about ways to access internet service, please see 4j.lane.edu/internet. The district is partnering to provide free high-speed internet access for families who qualify, and has hotspots available to lend to families who do not have another way to access the internet at home. If you are still unable to access online learning from home, please talk to your school.  

Internet Support for Families

Q: What learning management system is used for instruction? 

Learning management system (LMS) software provides a digital space for teaching and learning, including homework assignments, teacher communication and student collaboration—an online classroom. These learning management systems also allow parents to see everything their children are expected to learn and do, all in one place. 

Middle and high schools are using the Canvas platform for instruction online and on-site for hybrid learning. Elementary schools continue to use Seesaw as a platform for learning. The Eugene Online Academy uses a different system.

Canvas and Seesaw Information for Families
Parent Technology Training Sessions in November

Q: Can parents participate in class Zooms?  

No. Like classroom instruction in school buildings, online class time is for students. While parents, guardians or caretakers may be nearby and helping support their students, no one but the student may participate in the Zoom meeting unless expressly invited by the teacher. Parents and others may not interject or participate in classroom discussions or chats, or otherwise engage during class. If a student’s parent is disruptive to the learning environment, the teacher may disable the student’s video and audio or remove them from the class meeting and report the disruption to the school principal.

Q: Can volunteers help with online instruction? 

4J schools are not using volunteers at this time, either on-site or on Zoom. We truly appreciate parents’ and community members’ desire to help and volunteer. However, at this point the district is not ready to authorize volunteers in distance learning. Our teachers are still adjusting to tremendous change, learning new programs, establishing new routines, and connecting with students. After getting distance learning strongly established, adding volunteer opportunities may be possible later in the year, with consideration to safety, supervision, and training.

Q: How will students receive special education services?

Students receiving special education services will continue to receive accommodations and support, online and on-site. Services may be a combination of synchronous instruction, asynchronous instruction, packets, face-to-face (if permitted) or any combination as deemed appropriate by the IEP team. A case manager or someone from the Student Services Department has or will reach out to each family of a student with an IEP to discuss individual needs and plans for the school year.

Q: Will attendance be taken? 

Attendance will be taken for every class every day. For middle and high schools, the main way attendance is noted is through Canvas activity. 

Attendance includes non-real-time contact, not only participation in synchronous learning activities. When a student does not log in to Canva for a class on a school day or there is no student interaction during a 24-hour period surrounding a scheduled school day, students are reported as absent for the class or day. Attendance may include:
• Participating in a Zoom class meeting
• Turning in completed coursework via the learning management system
• Communication from the student to the teacher via chat, text message, communication app or email
• A phone call between the teacher or educational assistant and the student

Parents are sent a notification by phone and email if their student was marked absent in one or more classes the previous week. Parents with a Synergy ParentVUE login can check their student’s attendance record in ParentVUE.  

Q: Will students receive letter grades? 

Yes. Students will receive course grades and regular feedback on progress. High schools and middle schools have returned to providing letter grades for classes in 2020–21. Students will have the option for P/NP grades as detailed in the course syllabus where appropriate.

This is a statewide change from the emergency distance learning in spring 2020, when the state of Oregon required that students be given pass/no-pass/incomplete grades for spring term courses.

Q: Can I continue online learning with my 4J school if I move away or travel outside of Oregon?

To be enrolled in local public schools, students must live in the district, or live in a neighboring district and be granted an interdistrict transfer. School-issued devices may not be taken out the state, and many school apps and systems will not be accessible from outside of Oregon.

Q: Do families need to buy school supplies? 

In most years, families purchase school supplies at the start of the school year. This year, the school district is providing some standard elementary school supplies for students learning at home—such as pencils, erasers, washable markers, crayons, glue and scissors. Elementary schools distributed school supplies this fall. Pickup of other materials, such as specific class supplies and workbooks, may be scheduled on certain days after the school year begins.

Q: Will there be sports?

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) delayed and shortened this year’s school sports schedules due to the pandemic. The revised OSAA calendar postponed and shortened the three sports seasons to about six weeks each.

Activities are limited, with different limitations based on county risk status. Full-contact sports such as football, previously prohibited statewide, are now allowed if districts opt in and adhere to additional health and safety measures.

4J high school teams began engaging in outdoor training and conditioning activities in late January 2021. Traditional fall sports—football, soccer, volleyball and cross country—started their abbreviated seasons on Feb. 22, and the first games started Monday, March. 1. Spring sports are tentatively scheduled to start in April and winter sports in May. Information about registering for sports is available on each high school’s website. 

4J Contact Football Participation
4J Athletics Livestream Information
OSAA Athletics Information

Q: Is there childcare available? 

Eugene School District 4J is providing space and partnering with local childcare providers to offer families childcare options for their elementary school students during distance learning. Childcare programs for students in grades K–5 are hosted at several school sites across the district, in addition to other community childcare options. Childcare will be offered at the school sites at least until students return to in-person learning in a hybrid model. Please contact the providers to enroll in childcare or to ask about financial assistance. Per their agreement with 4J, these childcare providers must offer some scholarship opportunities.

When on-site learning begins in the hybrid model, before- and after-school care will be offered by community providers in many elementary schools. Check with your school for details.

The Employment-Related Day Care program (ERDC) helps eligible low-income families pay for childcare while they are working. ERDC is a subsidy program, meaning eligible families still pay part of the childcare cost. The income threshold for this assistance has been raised significantly, so many families are now eligible who previously were not.

Childcare Providers in 4J Schools
Employment Related Day Care Assistance

Q: Did the school calendar change? Does starting the school year online save money that could be used to add days later? 

The school calendar for 2020–21 was adjusted due to the coronavirus pandemic and wildfires in September. Teachers returned to prepare for online teaching on September 1 and students started school September 21.

The district does not plan to add school days, given funding constraints. There are few cost savings from providing education online or in a hybrid of online and on-site learning, and many added costs of responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the cost of providing education and support services is in paid work days for teachers and staff. Adding one day of school beyond the planned school year would cost about $650,000. 

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Special Education Supports and IEPs

Q: Will my student’s IEP or 504 plan still be in effect during distance learning? How will I find out what their services will look like?

All students with 504’s and IEP’s will have their ADA and IDEA accommodations available, although the modality in which all students are learning will be different than in a normal school year. Case managers reached out to each student’s family within the first few weeks of school to discuss what services will look like for their individual child this year.

Q: What if my child needs an evaluation?

If your child is in the process of an evaluation or is due for a re-evaluation, we will be reaching out to you to set an appointment and discuss the logistics of completing that evaluation. We have 5 testing centers open across the district at this time.

Q: What will a typical day look like for my student?

Please look at the sample online learning schedules that are posted on the district website and were shared to all families via email. This will give you an idea of what a typical day will look like overall, but does not include details of push-in supports, pull-out groups, or academic support classes that your child will be enrolled in. Your case manager will be able to clarify with you what support will look like and how SDI will be delivered, when they connect with you at the start of the school year.

Online School Schedules

Q: Is the Eugene Online Academy open to students with IEPs?

Yes, this program is open to students with IEPs, but we must hold an IEP meeting to discuss this option and make sure your child’s IEP can be met in the program. Not all programs have the exact same resources, so we want to make sure the IEP team is making an informed decision about what is best for each child. For this year, if you are interested in the Eugene Online Academy, the district will reach out to you soon to schedule an IEP meeting to discuss this as a possibility.

Eugene Online Academy information

Q: If my student starts the school year with the Eugene Online Academy and finds it is not a good fit, can they switch to another option?

Families who enroll in the online academy may request to change back to their regular school at the term change. If your child is struggling, work with your IEP team to discuss next steps and design a plan as a team on what might be the best option for your child.

Q: Why wouldn’t the Eugene Online Academy be appropriate for my child?

The appropriateness of a program is determined by the IEP team. Schools have different programs, services and levels of resources, and not every school program may be able to meet your child’s IEP as written. All 4J schools are in a distance learning model for the fall, but the platforms and delivery that regular 4J schools are using for comprehensive distance learning are different from what is used in the online academy. The Eugene Online Academy is an online-only, asynchronous (on-demand learning) program, and requires a certain level of independence to navigate the programming they utilize. Convening an IEP meeting will help us determine what is best for your child.

Q: If I want to homeschool my child with an IEP, what do I need to do?

If you want to homeschool your child, contact Lane ESD and they will guide you on the process for enrolling in homeschool options. If your child has an IEP, please connect with your school and talk to your IEP team about your intent to homeschool and they can discuss how the IEP process continues.

Q: What if you have reached out to your IEP team to get support for your child and the team is unresponsive?

If you need help getting in touch with your IEP team, please contact your school’s principal. If that is not effective, please reach out to a student services administrator: Tom Horn, Seth Pfaefflin or KC Clark.

Q: What kind of training do your behavior support workers receive?

Our support staff are trained in many areas; it is dependent on the population of students they will be working with. A few trainings include: trauma-informed care; positive behavior support practices; functional behavior support; social emotional learning; mental health and wellness; social skills curriculum; and others. The behavior support educational assistants work closely with our behavior specialists on implementing systems schoolwide that support students’ social and emotional well-being.

Q: Do you have any plans in place to support social emotional development for kids who are at higher risk and who will be continuing to do remote learning through the end of the year?

We are currently focusing on lessons for social skills and on community building, as well as on building relationships with our students. We are always engaging in this type of work and expanding it, especially during these difficult times. We recognize that social emotional development is important for our students, especially as students start to come back to in-person learning while others stay in distance learning.

Q: What happens with staff who are not using universal design and who are not following IEPs?

We have been working with staff and administrators in the buildings to support them with the implementation of universal design by providing professional development. If you are having issues with your team following IEP accommodations, please reach out to your IEP team and/or your school’s principal.

Q: What is the protocol for a student who does not keep their mask on and/or can’t successfully maintain social distancing requirements due to fulfilling physical needs?

We are working on these protocols now and will be working on teaching expectations to students as they return. We follow Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority guidelines, but we understand the requirements may be a challenge for students. We are working on lessons, explicit teaching and other strategies to help support our students.

Q: I would love to learn more about the social skills curriculum being used. Is there a link where I can find more info?

At the elementary level, Second Steps is the curriculum that has the largest focus in 4J. We also have Caring School Community; Mind Up; Kelso’s Choice; CFC Bully Prevention; Stop Walk and Talk; Expect Respect Bully Prevention; Zones of Regulation and others. There is no link for parents currently, but you can look up most of these resources online. You can also talk to your school counselor about which specific curriculum they are using, as schools may vary.

Q: If hybrid is pushed out a month or more after winter break, will we get another opportunity to change how our child will be attending (hybrid vs. same school online)?

If your child has an IEP or a 504 and you would like to change your preference, please go through your child’s IEP or 504 team to discuss making that change.

Q: If hybrid learning happens, can a student come into the building for specialists/learning center, but remain online for their main classroom?

We don’t yet have an answer to this question. Transportation will be a major hurdle. Special education services often happen several times throughout the school day and transportation back and forth from home to school multiple times a day for families who chose the same school online pathway will be challenging.

Q: What happens if your student gets behind on classroom assignments?

Please reach out to your teacher and case manager (special education teacher) if your student is falling behind. The team can work on creating possible accommodations that may help your child with making up/keeping up with assignments.

Q: How do we get a list of possible supports for behavior/sensory needs?

Speak with your child’s case manager (special education teacher) for information about what types of behavioral supports and/or sensory supports may be helpful for your child. The case manager can enlist the help of our interventionist to provide a list of possible supports or share with you what they have been using that works specifically for your child.

Q: How are learning centers working with distance learning? My child doesn’t seem to get as much support.

Special education services can look different during distance learning, as compared to in-person learning. For example, we are doing a lot more “push-in” services during distance learning versus “pull-out” services like we do during in-person learning. We also have many special education groups happening as “breakout” groups during the general education class time. Specially designed instruction can be delivered by the general education teachers as well during their general education time. If you have questions about when your child’s services are occurring, please reach out to your child’s case manager (special education teacher).

Q: What credentials are required for educational assistants and behavioral support staff?

Each job requires a different level of credentials. Job descriptions and minimal requirements for jobs are posted on 4J’s website. Search for SSD/special education.


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Health and Safety

Once on-site learning begins…

Q: Will staff and students be required to wear face masks at school?

Yes, for everyone’s protection, face coverings are required for staff and for students in kindergarten and up. (This is a statewide requirement.) The CDC advises that the use of face coverings is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools and communities. 

Q: Will students and staff be screened for symptoms when they come to school?

Yes. Students will be visually screened as they get on the bus or enter the school, and will be asked a series of screening questions every day. Staff will conduct a self-check every day. 

Q: Will schools and buses be cleaned between cohorts?

Yes. Staff will disinfect touchpoints and seats between each group of students riding the bus. Staff will clean and disinfect  touchpoints throughout school buildings—including but not limited to restrooms, common areas, door knobs, light switches, and student desks—daily and throughout the day. 

Q: What cleaning products will be used?

Only district-provided cleaning and disinfecting products will be used. These products will be selected from the EPA List N to reduce the risk of asthma.

Q: Where can I learn more about the district’s health and safety measures? 

Read 4J’s COVID-19 Comprehensive Disease Management Plan, available on this website.
COVID-19 Management Plan and Operational Blueprints

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Return to Learning Pathways

Q: What will school days be like during the online learning at the start of the school year? 

All 4J schools will start the year with comprehensive distance learning, teaching and learning online. Grade-level teams of teachers, specialists and administrators have worked to develop daily learning schedules that will provide students with high-quality, teacher-directed learning opportunities every day and every week while they are learning at a distance. Students will learn from their homes five days a week with a combination of live full-class instruction and small group work, as well as independent learning activities.

Online School Schedules

Q: How will online teaching and learning this year be different from the emergency distance learning in the spring?

Online teaching and learning will be notably different and more robust than the short-term emergency learning students engaged in last spring.

Students will have more and better learning time, including significantly more teacher-facilitated instruction, more independent and family-supported applied learning, and daily opportunities for real-time connections. Students will engage in learning five days a week. Attendance will be taken for every class every day. Students will receive course grades and regular feedback on progress. High school students will earn credits. 

Q: What options were provided for returning to school this year?

Families were provided the choice of three pathways for their students to return to school in 2020–21. Regardless of which learning model families chose, students will have access to instruction five days a week, will be provided with technology (a laptop or tablet) for learning online and/or in-person, and will have access to school meals.

A majority of students plan to return to school buildings when on-site learning begins. However, some families will not be comfortable with the possibility of sending their children back to school in person at all this year. Families who prefer were able to opt for 100% remote learning, either with their regular school or through the district’s separate online academy. 

SAME SCHOOL HYBRID — This was the default option. All 4J schools will start the school year teaching and learning online. At a later point, when public health conditions allow, students will return to school buildings in a hybrid model, with groups of students attending classes on-site at school and online at home in alternating groups. Schools will have rigorous health and safety measures in place when students return in person. 

SAME SCHOOL ONLINE — Students who selected this option will remain 100% online and stay connected with their current school, when schools begin on-site learning in a hybrid model. This may look different and may have a different teacher than the comprehensive distance learning provided when all schools started the school year online this fall, but will include some synchronous (real-time) learning and continued connection with the student’s regular school.

ONLINE ACADEMY — Families who prefer also had the choice of enrolling in online classes through the Eugene Online Academy. This is a separate K–12 online school program run by Eugene School District 4J, facilitated by licensed 4J teachers using a curriculum specifically designed to support online learning. For students who choose to attend Eugene Online Academy, learning is more independent and mostly asynchronous (not real-time), and they are not placed with a teacher or classmates from their regular school.

Q. What if I didn’t respond to choose a learning option? 

If you did not respond to choose one of the options at the start of the school year, or during the change request periods in November or February/March, your school is planning for your student to attend in the default option, Same School Hybrid. This is the option selected by the majority of 4J families.

Q: Can students change between the learning options after the start of the year? 

Parents were asked to select the return-to-learning option you want for your student for the foreseeable future in this school year. This is important to ensure teachers and support staff are assigned where needed to support students in each learning model. 

Families may request to change from one option to another at the next term change. Change requests were accepted in November and again in February/March. At other points, individual circumstances will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Will middle and high school students have the same course offerings in the Same School Online and Same School Hybrid options? 

Our intent is to offer the full curriculum in middle and high school whether students choose the hybrid or online option with their school. 

Q: What will school be like for students attending their regular school in the Same School Online model?

When schools begin on-site learning in a hybrid model, students who have selected this option will not return to school on-site but will instead continue learning remotely and stay connected with their current school.

Details are in development for how to implement this option requested by families. It may look different from the comprehensive distance learning provided when all schools start the school year online this fall, but will include some synchronous (real-time) learning and continued connection with your neighborhood or alternative school. Teachers will continue to deliver district-adopted curriculum and lesson plans developed by 4J teachers. Students will engage in learning five days a week.  

Student participation in this option will vary by school and grade level, and will require some students to shift classrooms. Some online classrooms likely will be combined. Where student participation levels are small, it is possible that students from more than one grade or school may be assigned to a combined classroom.

Q: What will school be like for students attending their regular school in the hybrid model?  

Strong Start Online: The school year will start online for all grades, establishing a strong foundation for teachers, students and parents in remote learning that will be notably different and more robust than the short-term emergency learning students engaged in last spring. This period of online learning for all will be at least through winter break, and could continue longer, depending on public health conditions. While students are learning online, there may be some limited, targeted on-site supports for some individual students or small groups, but not regular classes or full grade levels attending school on-site. 

Hybrid On-Site / Online: Later in the school year, when public health conditions allow, we plan for students to return to attending school on-site in alternating cohorts. Under current state requirements for health and safety, it will not be possible for all students to be at school at the same time. Schools will strive to coordinate attendance groups so students from the same household attend school on-site on the same schedule. 

Safely at School: While students are attending school on-site, there will be significant public health protocols in place, including physical distancing, consistent groupings, face coverings, cleaning protocols, transportation changes, visitor restrictions, and more. All of these details will be established in compliance with the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority’s strict health and safety requirements in place for schools.

Return to Online Learning: Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, once on-site learning begins in the hybrid model, schools and families must be prepared to return to full-time online learning at any point based on changes in public health conditions during the school year.

Many details of the hybrid model are still being finalized as the district works with teacher workgroups to plan details and with state education leaders to navigate an ever-shifting situation. There will likely be adjustments to transportation options, school start and end times and other aspects of in-person learning.

Q: What will school be like for students attending the Eugene Online Academy?  

The Eugene Online Academy is an online learning program offered by Eugene School District 4J for all grades K–12. It uses different curriculum than other 4J schools and is designed for asynchronous (not real-time) online lesson delivery, facilitated by 4J teachers, supplemented by some real-time check-ins. 

Students who chose this option will temporarily take classes through the Eugene Online Academy, but technically will remain enrolled in their current school and will not lose their place while attending the online academy this year. Students may choose to go back to their regular school next year, or request to change at the start of the next trimester (middle and high school) or semester (elementary school).

More information about the Eugene Online Academy is below, and you can also see 4j.lane.edu/eugeneonline, email eugeneonline@4j.lane.edu, or call 541-790-6850.

Q: What if a student chooses to enroll in a different school or homeschool instead of one of 4J’s three return-to-learning options?  

A family may opt to unenroll from their 4J school to home school, attend a private or charter school, or enroll in an online/virtual learning school other than Eugene Online Academy. If you want to homeschool your child, contact Lane Education Service District and they will guide you on the process for enrolling in homeschool options. If you are interested in a virtual charter school outside of 4J, please be aware that the district has reached the 3% cap on virtual charter school enrollment at this time. 

Students who have unenrolled from 4J are not provided with student technology or other services provided to all 4J students. If the student has been attending a 4J school via a school choice transfer, or if they live outside the district and have been attending on an interdistrict transfer, by enrolling in a different school they will relinquish their transfer. The student can always re-enroll in their neighborhood school when they are ready, but in order to re-enroll in an alternative school or a neighborhood school other than the one associated with their residence, they will need to apply again for a school choice transfer (or interdistrict transfer).

Q: What if I decide to defer and not send my student to kindergarten this year? What does that look like and what grade do I start in the following year?

If you decide to wait and not enroll your child in kindergarten in your 4J school this year, you may enroll them next year.

If your child attends another accredited kindergarten program in the meantime, they will begin first grade next year.

If you want to enroll in a school other than your neighborhood school, you will need to complete the school choice process again next year. A seat will not be held for your child if they are not enrolled.

Q: Will specialized programs, such as language immersion or International High School (IHS), be available in 4J’s online learning options? 

The Eugene Online Academy (EOA) does not offer specialized programs such as language immersion and IHS. However, a student who enrolls in the Eugene Online Academy this year will not lose their seat and may return to their regular school next year or at the term change. 

Students in specialized programs such as language immersion or IHS can continue these programs in the Same School Online option. Details of how to implement this option requested by families are in development. There may be differences such as blended-grade classrooms and/or less language instruction or teaching of content in the target language.

Q: Is there an option to have my student attend school on-site full-time? 

No, this is not one of the available options. Under state requirements for health and safety, it will not be possible for all students to be at school at the same time, so when school buildings are open for on-site instruction, students will attend on-site in alternating groups.

Q: When will schools return to in-person school every day for all students?

Eugene School District 4J looks forward to welcoming all students back to school when public health circumstances change and the Governor, Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority lift restrictions on in-person school attendance. We expect this will be some time from now. 

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On-Site Learning in Hybrid Model

Once on-site learning begins in hybrid model:

Q: Will students have school every day of the week? 

Yes, on-site or online, schools will engage all learners in learning Monday through Friday, with the exception of scheduled no-school days such as holidays and grading days. Learning will be a combination of real-time and on-demand or “asynchronous” learning.

Q: Will students in the same household have the same weekly schedule?

We recognize that this is a critical issue for families, and will work to make this happen as much as possible. Our aim is to coordinate attendance groups so students from the same household attend school on-site the same days, to the extent possible.

Q: Will the schedule be different for on-site school days? 

When schools resume on-site instruction in a hybrid model, school hours will be different and shorter than their normal schedule. This is to promote safer learning environments, support preparation and planning for high-quality instruction, and enable student transportation. More time is needed for transportation schedules to allow for rigorous health and safety measures, including health screening of every student boarding the school bus and cleaning between routes. 

To minimize cohorts for students’ health and safety, high schools plan to offer grab-and-go lunches at the end of the shortened school day rather than having students eat lunch on-site. 

Q: What is a cohort? 

A cohort is a consistent group of students that stays together for a certain part or all of each school day. 

Schools will establish stable cohorts to the extent feasible, limit cohort sizes and the number of cohorts each student is in, as a key strategy in minimizing the risk of spreading the virus. The goal is to keep students in a minimum number of consistent cohorts, with a minimum total combined cohort size. 

Q: How many students will be in a cohort?

Students will be part of one or more cohorts within the school day, such as classroom and recess groups. Each student’s cohorts (the number of people they are regularly in contact with) must add up to no more than 100 people total within the educational week. Transportation and extracurricular activities also will establish their own stable cohorts to the extent feasible. 

Q: How many students will be in a classroom at a time?

A cohort within a classroom will be no larger than can be accommodated by the space available to provide 35 square feet per person, including staff. The number of students in a classroom at a time will vary, but will be much smaller than normal class sizes.

Q: Will bus transportation be offered for students?

Bus transportation will be provided for students who qualify, but is limited by health and safety requirements. State guidance recommends that students sit at least 3 feet apart on the bus (except students in the same household) and 6 feet from the driver except during entry and exit, which significantly reduces the number of students that can be transported on each bus. Families are encouraged to walk, bike or drive to school, if at all possible.

The district is implementing protocols to help reduce potential exposure on school buses. Bus drivers and riders will be required to wear face coverings. Buses will be cleaned and disinfected between each group of students. Drivers will be trained to screen students getting on the bus, watch for symptoms in students, and keep them isolated if they observe symptoms. 

Q: Why are families encouraged to take their students to school instead of using the bus? 

This year is unique. Seats on school buses will be limited to enable distancing between students. We will be asking families to bring their students to school if they can, and encourage walking and biking. We are working on plans for drop-off and pick-up traffic at each school.

Q: Will school meals be provided on days students are at school on-site? 

Yes, school meals will be available. Depending on school level and school schedules, meals may be eaten in classrooms or provided at the end of the day in a grab-and-go format.

Q: Will school meals be provided for students in the weeks they are not at school on-site?

Yes, school meals will be available for students not attending school on-site. 

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Eugene Online Academy

Q: What is the Eugene Online Academy? 

Eugene Online Academy is a K–12 learning program offered by Eugene School District 4J. 4J’s online learning program started for high school students in the 2018–19 school year and expanded to students in grades 6–12 for the 2019–20 school year. It is now offered for all grades.

Q: How do I enroll my student in the Eugene Online Academy?

If you are interested in your student taking classes through the Eugene Online Academy, please complete the return-to-learning response form and select the online academy option, then also complete the Eugene Online Academy request-to-enroll form by August 26. If you previously filled out the interest form, this did not commit you to choosing the online academy, and you must still complete the request-to-enroll form if you wish to enroll in this option. 

Q: Do students have to commit to the online academy for the entire year?

No. Students who choose 100% online learning through the Eugene Online Academy will remain enrolled in their current school. Once they are comfortable resuming some on-site learning, students may choose to go back to their regular school at the next term change. (Advance notice of the change will be required.) 

Q: Can students go back and forth between the online academy and their regular school?

The online academy and same school options are not able to be blended, such as by a student attending their regular school and the online academy in alternating weeks or months. However, after completing classes for the trimester/semester, students may request to switch from their regular school to the online academy, or vice versa, for the following term. (Advance notice of the change will be required.)

Q: If I choose the online academy for my student during the pandemic, will they lose their place at the school they regularly attend?

No. If a student elects to take classes through the Eugene Online Academy this year, they can later return to the school they would be attending if they had not chosen the online academy. The online academy is a concurrent enrollment with the student’s brick-and-mortar school. That means students attending the online academy remain in the district and do not unenroll from their regular school. 

Q: What is the curriculum provided through the online academy? 

All online academy curriculum is aligned to Oregon state standards. 

Elementary school curriculum:

Curriculum for students in grades K–5 is provided by the Florida Virtual School and facilitated by 4J elementary teachers. Examples of other Oregon schools that use the Florida Virtual School curriculum include Lake Oswego School District, Oregon Charter Academy and Metro East Web Academy.

K–5 curriculum by subject
Grade-level curriculum standards

Elementary curriculum overview and sample lessons (IMPORTANT NOTE: This is the content provider’s website—it is not where you sign up for 4J’s online academy. Do not click to enroll on the FLVS website.)

Middle and high school curriculum:

Grades 6–12 use the K12 curriculum, Fuel Education, primarily facilitated by 4J teachers. Examples of other Oregon schools that use the K12 Fuel Education curriculum include Springfield SPS Online, Bend-La Pine Online and Oregon Virtual Academy. 

Online academy staff coordinate with students, parents, and counselors and staff from their regular school to plan student course schedules. 

Q: Who designs and teaches the online academy courses? 

Eugene Online Academy courses are produced by the curriculum provider Florida Virtual School for elementary level classes (K–5) and Fuel Education for middle and high school level classes (grades 6–12). 

All online academy classes will be facilitated by a 4J and/or 4J-contracted teacher. All online academy students will have regular check-ins and opportunities to meet with staff and other students in their classes (grades K–5) and age groups (middle and high schoolers). 

Elementary school: A 4J elementary teacher will facilitate all online academy classes for students in kindergarten through 5th grade. The teacher will connect with students and parents to build positive and productive relationships, monitor student progress, communicate, and provide support and academic feedback.

Middle and high school: For grades 6–12, most classes will be facilitated by 4J teachers and some will be facilitated by a contracted teacher with an Oregon teaching license in that subject area. If a student is in a course that is being facilitated by a contracted teacher, they will still be in contact with 4J online academy staff who can provide help as needed. Teachers will monitor student progress, grade assignments, provide additional support as needed and share feedback. 

Q: Can students mix and match, taking some classes through the online academy and some classes with their regular school? 

In general, no. The Eugene Online Academy is a separate program. Students must choose to return to learning with either their regular school or the online academy. If student wants to take a certain program or courses offered by their regular school, they should choose the Same School Hybrid or Same School Online return-to-learning option. 

There are some limited exceptions—for example, where an interscholastic activity (high school activities governed by OSAA, such as athletics, band, debate) requires a certain class for participation, a student could be enrolled in that class (e.g. band) at their regular school, while taking the rest of their classes with the online academy. 

Students enrolled in the Eugene Online Academy also may participate in available after-school and extracurricular activities with their regular school. 

Q: Will my student be paired with a teacher and other students from their regular school? 

No. The online academy is a separate option from attending your regular school. Groupings of students and teachers though the online academy will balance teacher availability with enrollment by grade level and course registration. Families wishing to remain more closely connected with their regular school may prefer the Same School Online return-to-learning option. 

Q: When is instruction provided? Do students need to be online at a specific time each day? 

While there will be some scheduled times for students to meet with teachers (especially at the elementary level), the online academy uses asynchronous (not real-time) lesson delivery, so you have flexibility in choosing the time that works best for you to engage in school. 

Q: How many hours a day will my elementary school student be engaged with online learning?

It is estimated that elementary school students will spend about 1/2 hour a day per subject—science, social studies, math, language arts, art, PE and technology. This means that on average students will spend 3.5 hours engaging with the curriculum. This does not include time spent in online meetups for class activities. 

Q: How many hours a day will my middle or high school student be engaged with online learning?

It is estimated that middle and high school students will spend one hour per day per subject. With a 5-class schedule, students can plan on spending on average 5 hours a day on their coursework. This does not include time spent in online meetups for class activities.

Q: Does the online academy offer language immersion instruction? 

No. Language immersion is a specialized curriculum offered at specific schools, and is not available through the online academy. Middle and high school students may enroll in world language classes.

However, if you opt for the online academy, your student will not lose their place in their language immersion program and will be able to return to it next year or at the next term change.

Q: Does the online academy offer the IHS program?  

No. International Baccalaureate courses are not available through the Eugene Online Academy. 

Q: Does the online academy offer Advanced Placement classes? 

Yes. High school course offerings through the Eugene Online Academy include a wide variety of AP classes.

Q: What technology is needed to access the online academy?

All that is needed for the online academy is a device (computer or tablet) and an internet connection. The courses are accessed through a web browser. 

4J will provide learning devices for online academy students this year—all 4J students are being provided with a take-home device for learning at home. 

Q: Can students with IEPs take classes through the online academy? 

Yes. Students with IEPs are not disqualified from taking classes through the online academy. If you requested to enroll your student with an IEP in the Eugene Online Academy, the Student Services Department will reach out to you shortly to discuss next steps.

Q: Can students enrolled in the online academy participate in school activities at the school they were attending?

Yes. Students attending the Eugene Online Academy are co-enrolled with their brick-and-mortar schools and can participate in interscholastic and other extracurricular activities at their school, within the state’s cohort restrictions. High schoolers can participate in OSAA sports as long as all eligibility requirements are met, and to the extent that activities will be allowed by the Oregon Schools Activities Association, the Oregon Health Authority, and the district during the pandemic.  

Q: Are students attending the online academy eligible for meal services?

Yes, school meals are available for all students, including online academy students. 

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4J Staff

Q: What is the plan to vaccinate 4J staff?

The district is working with our healthcare partners to plan for vaccinations for our entire 4J team, including substitutes, athletic coaches, student teachers, and staff currently on leave.

Please watch for information by email and/or text about when, where and how to schedule your vaccination. Certain groups of staff, such as those who are likely to have more contact with students, will be scheduled earlier than others.

Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will teachers teach on-site in school classrooms? 

While students are learning at home, teachers are teaching online from school or remotely with a teleworking agreement. Some on-site activity may be required, such as providing limited, targeted supports for individual students or small groups. 

Q: Where can I find more information for staff?

Human Resources Coronavirus FAQ
Leaves of Absence FAQ
This is a constantly evolving situation and these FAQs are likewise evolving.

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We know there are many more questions and information is always evolving. This FAQ will be updated with new questions and answers over time.