Superintendent Report

Superintendent Report: Eagle Point School District
October 20, 2021

 

COVID19 and Instruction:

EPSD9 staff continue to keep Eagle Point District schools operating during challenging times with the majority of our students attending in person. It has not been an easy path.

 

In the past month, we have experienced a continuing rate of quarantines that is higher than we would like. While the rate of infection is declining in Jackson County and in EPSD9 we have yet to see a decline in the overall number of students being excluded from school. In large part this appears to be due to the guidelines for quarantine that are focused on whether staff and students are wearing masks correctly rather than symptoms of infection. On a positive note, discussions are taking place at the state level about when to remove the RSSL requirement for masking outdoors. 

 

I continue to be grateful and proud of the hard work and dedication our staff demonstrates and has accomplished. It is quite common for staff to be working into the evenings on different aspects of the world we are in. This includes not only the tracking and notification work required for quarantines, but also the preparation and planning needed to continue with instruction while students are absent.

 

Underlying the tremendous time and effort EPSD9 staff are dedicating to “COVID” is the ongoing struggle to find adequate staffing. While not yet where we would like to see it, our transportation crisis of not having enough drivers to cover our routes has improved. Other areas, but especially in support staff and in Special Education we continue to struggle. EPSD9 has completed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) with the District’s employees union (EPEA) which includes a financial incentive for some staff. The EPEA and the District have continued these discussions after the signing of the MOA with the goal of recognizing staff contributions through the pandemic and the changed world of student instruction that we anticipate following the pandemic. EPSD9 have also begun a Wellness Program and are preparing a job satisfaction and feedback survey to go out shortly to all EPSD9 Employees. We intend to review those results closely for ways we can improve our culture and employee job satisfaction.

Staff Vaccinations:

On October 18th the order that all employees, volunteers and subcontractors working in schools be vaccinated or exempted went into effect. This order falls under the state's emergency powers and is delineated in ORS 401.168 and ORS 413. Oregon law allows for both medical/health and religious exemptions. 

 

As of October 19, EPSD9’s staff vaccination status is as follows:.

 

498 Employees (Includes coaches who do not work during the school day for the district)

479 School day employees

373 Fully Vaccinated (74.9%)

125 Approved Exception (25.1%)

1 employee chose to retire due to the vaccination requirement

1 employee is on unpaid leave

1 employee is in the termination process

Student Vaccinations:

Not a day goes by without my being asked about whether there will be, or when there will be, a requirement for student COVID vaccinations. Currently, there is not an FDA approved vaccination for students 5-12. However, it is expected to be approved sometime around the middle of the school year. California recently set a student COVID vaccination requirement that will be implemented following that approval. Neither Oregon or Washington have yet followed. I believe, but do not know, that it is probable that Oregon will require student COVID vaccinations at some point either during the current school year or, more likely, for the beginning of the next school year. Current rules for student vaccinations, including forms for medical and religious exemptions can be found here. The law governing student vaccinations can be found here. 

 Andy Kovach
Superintendent
541-830-6563