Board pushes back start of Vale school to Aug. 31

This story was updated with adjusted grant allocations from the Oregon Department of Education.

Vale schools will start Aug. 31 instead of Aug. 17 so families and staff can better prepare for online learning and adapt to expected school guidance, the Vale School Board decided Aug. 5.

Staff will start working a week later as well, on Aug 19. Families will check out Chromebooks and hotspots the week of Aug. 24.

The district was swung into online learning preparation after Gov. Kate Brown’s announcement of new metrics last week which require no more than three new Covid cases in the county every week for schools to reopen.

The metrics require less than 10 new cases per 100,000 in the county every week for three weeks, and a positive testing rate less than 5% in both the state and the county.

Brown said those metrics are not set in stone on a conference call, said Alisha McBride, Vale School District superintendent.

Classes this year are required by the state to be graded by letter instead of pass/no pass, unlike distance learning last year, said McBride.

The district also plans to apply for a government grant for distance learning infrastructure, like teacher training, webcams, hotspots and online curriculum, said McBride. The district is eligible for up to $160,981.

The grant comes from the federal stimulus package, the CARES grant, and the Oregon Department of Education is distributing $28 million to schools. The Nyssa School District is eligible for $179,212. Ontario $153,379, and Adrian $151,766, according to the department.

β€œIt was a very pleasant surprise yesterday to receive that preliminary grant allocation,” said McBride.

During distance learning, breakfasts and lunches can be picked up in the Vale Elementary School between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. for all Vale students.

The board also voted to appoint Darlene McConnell to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Scott Gressley on July 1. McConnell also serves on the board of Treasure Valley Community College.


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News tip? Contact reporter Aidan McGloin at [email protected] or at 541-235-1005.


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