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Reynolds Middle School pausing in-person learning for two weeks after student outbursts, fights

District officials say they'll use the time to improve safety protocols and social-emotional support. Remote learning will start November 22.

FAIRVIEW, Oregon — Reynolds Middle School students will pause in-person learning for two weeks, district officials confirmed.

Remote learning will begin Nov. 22 with students taking Nov. 18 and 19 off to allow teachers to prepare. District officials told KGW the reason for the in-person learning pause is not a COVID-19 outbreak, but rather struggles some students have had adjusting to COVID protocols and socialization skills needed for in-person learning.

“There were fights, there were safety issues and those issues were causing disruption in learning,” said Steve Padilla, assistant director of public relations for the Reynolds School District. “There were a lot of issues that some students had a hard time adjusting to… it's kind of a snowball effect.”

RELATED: Concerns over staffing shortages, lack of supervision lead parent to pull daughter from public school

Padilla said the district will take the next two weeks to ensure Reynolds Middle School has the necessary social-emotional supports and safety protocols needed to provide a safe learning environment for everyone. He said options may include some teachers on special assignment to help other teachers, and more staff watching and talking with kids in the hallways.

“This isn't something that we've gone through before… this is a learn as you go type of situation,” said Padilla.

Many schools can relate. Karley Strouse is a school psychologist for Salem-Keizer Public Schools. She said with students coming out of isolation and dealing with a wide range of emotions she says disruptive behaviors can vary.

“This year just feels harder than last year,” said Strouse. “What we are advocating for is more support for mental health professionals in our schools because we are definitely in a mental health crisis right now.”

Padilla said there have also been a few "isolated incidents" at Reynolds High School which they're planning to address. However, he said it's not to the point where they need to resort to remote learning at the high school to address it.

KGW talked to parents and students outside the high school on Wednesday, the last day for in-person learning before the pause starts. 

"I think it’s illogical that the school is closing for behavioral problems when the pandemic affected it so much last year, and the kids are now in a lower level," said one parent named Magdalena Camarena. "Right now there’s chaos in the district."

RELATED: Reynolds High School temporarily reverting to distance learning due to COVID-19 exposures