MILL CITY, Ore. — Tuesday was the first day all kids in the Santiam Canyon School District had the option to go back to school in-person.
Middle and high school students came back to a brand new school. It’s the first time they’ve been back in-person for almost a year.
Elementary kids started in-person learning a little over a month ago.
Now all of the roughly 525 students in the district have the option to attend school in-person four days a week from 8 p.m. until 2 p.m. Before the pandemic, kids were on a four-day schedule as well, but went to school for slightly longer, until 3:30pm.
Superintendent Todd Miller said students are getting out of class a little earlier to give staff more time at the end of the day to deep clean. He said after the fire in early September, kids and families are still displaced. So, buses are going all over the mid-Willamette Valley to pick them up.
“We’re sending our buses down to Lebanon, to Stayton, to Salem and we’re trying to combine as many as we can together," said Miller. "But it’s so many different directions that we are running buses around the Willamette Valley area to be able to pick up our kids and get them back into school in person if that’s what they choose."
He said teachers are juggling a lot. They’re teaching their students in-person and simultaneously teaching kids at home.
About 70% of students chose to return to in-person learning. The rest stayed with distance learning.