The Klamath County School District Board of Directors sent a third resolution to Gov. Kate Brown this week, urging the state to change COVID-19 requirements to recommendations and allow the district to work directly with Klamath County Public Health to determine appropriate mitigation strategies for its schools.
The board unanimously approved the resolution, which is similar to two other resolutions approved and sent to the state in August and September. It reiterates the need for local decision-making so the district can best educate students in its 21 geographically and culturally diverse schools. Read the full resolution here: https://www.kcsd.k12.or.us/Resolution_22-08_Local_Control_Request_3.pdf
“This resolution is not a request for or against masks, vaccinations, testing, or school closures,” said KCSD Board Chair John Rademacher. “It is a request to allow us to best serve our students and staff by applying appropriate measures to deal with specific school situations.”
Board member Steve Lowell said he is concerned that with the current omicron surge the state will increase requirements, basing the ability to continue in-person instruction on the number of positive cases in the county like it did last year.
“Local control will allow KCSD and the county health department to set our parameters and keep our students learning in school buildings,” he said.
A letter to the governor, dated Jan. 24 and signed by the board and KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak, states in part: “It is critical to note that the Klamath County School District Board members feel strongly that they need to advocate for their community and feel disenfranchised from the current process of governing education in their community. While some school districts may have had input into the decision making process, our Board has not been involved. It would be a great move forward if the governor’s office could begin a dialogue with the Klamath County Board of Directors about how best to serve our students.” Read the full letter here: https://www.kcsd.k12.or.us/Letter_to_Governor_Kate_Brown_KCSD_Board_of_Directors%20a.pdf
The district’s focus is keeping schools open to in-person learning as much as possible while prioritizing the safety of staff and students.
Resolution No: 22-08 Resolution of the Klamath County School District Board of Directors: Local Control:
WHEREAS, the vision of the Klamath County School District (KCSD) is “Inspiring today’s students to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” and;
WHEREAS, our core values are:
Safety — All students and employees are provided safe and secure buildings and areas to learn and work.
Quality Education that is Meaningful and Valuable — All students shall have access to quality teachers and dynamic and innovative programs that prepare them for a higher education, technical program, or the workplace.
Emotional Well-Being — All students and employees will work and learn in a supportive, engaging, encouraging, and inspiring environment with access to mental health resources.
Equitable Opportunities — All students shall have equal access to quality staff, courses, activities, services, and resources based on their individual needs.
Organizational and Individual Responsibility — The district and its employees will maintain accountability to students and the public, promoting financial and academic integrity and sustainability.
Building Strong Relationships and Involved Communities — The district believes collaboration with community partners and teamwork between our schools and their communities benefits students and their overall success.
WHEREAS, educating students well, including focusing on their mental, emotional, physical, and social wellbeing, while continuing to safeguard the health of our students, our staff, and our community is our highest priority.
WHEREAS, our district is committed to creating a safe learning environment with appropriate safety measures for all;
WHEREAS, KCSD successfully brought students back to in-person instruction, and schools that reopened demonstrated they did not create super spreader events, but in fact served as guardians against transmission because contact tracing was performed, and robust communication with local public health authority occurred;
WHEREAS, KCSD has proven our commitment to work with Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) to ensure we are following all safety protocols and are able to quickly identify staff, students, and cohorts who were been exposed to or are confirmed to have COVID-19, connected them with medical professionals, removed them and any “close contacts” from the school community, thereby helping slow the spread in the community.
WHEREAS, it has been increasingly difficult for KCSD and its Board of Directors to respond to changes that are required within a short timeline. An example of this was the recent requirement that mandated students and staff wear masks outside. Local control in partnership with Klamath County Public Health would enable us to determine best practices in each of our diverse communities individually.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Klamath County School District Board of Directors urges Governor Brown to change the recent Oregon State COVID-19 requirements to recommendations and allow Klamath County School District to work directly with Klamath County Public Health to determine the appropriate mitigation strategies for our schools.
Klamath County School District Board of Directors
- John Rademacher
- Jill O’Donnell
- Steve Lowell
- Marc Staunton
- Laura Blair