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No Indoor Workouts for Students, 4J’s Potential School Reopening Pushed Back to Late-January

Brian Bull

The surge in coronavirus cases and the governor’s new lockdown means students statewide are not allowed to have indoor workouts. The Eugene 4J School District also announced during their Wednesday board meeting they do not anticipate returning to in-person school until well after the New Year.

During the two-week freeze, indoor workouts for all students—specifically middle and high school athletes—will be postponed. The Oregon Health Authority prohibits all districts from holding indoor trainings such as weightlifting and conditioning during the two-week freeze. But practices may take place outside as athletes prepare for this year’s truncated seasons.

Traditionally, the winter season would include competitions for basketball, wrestling, swimming, cheer and dance. But Eugene 4J’s Director of High School Education Andy Dey said the Oregon School Activities Association may not allow some of these competitions to happen this year.

“We know that cheer and dance and football and basketball and wrestling are considered contact sports, and those sports would not be able to compete,” said Dey. “Although they would be able to train and condition. Of course we’ll just stay tuned to what the OSAA says and see what’s possible.”

Dey said the next athletic season is scheduled to begin on Dec. 28. That date may be rescheduled depending on the number of coronavirus cases during the winter holiday, but Dey said he hopes to hear changes from the OSAA within the next few weeks.

But there’s a long road ahead until all 4J students can begin a hybrid learning model. 4J Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Charis McGaughy said with the county’s current coronavirus metrics, students probably won’t start returning until late-January.

“Because of the rise in metrics—and we have to meet the metrics for two weeks—the idea of being able to institute everything we need to do to be ready to bring students back in person, most likely the earliest will actually be may be the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January,” said McGaughy. “At the very earliest.”

Once metrics allow, kindergarten through third graders would be the first to return. A few weeks later, upper elementary students would go back. But middle school and high school students will not be able to resume some in-person classes until at least four weeks after upper elementary school students.

In the meantime, the 4J school district is asking families to share their experience with school services during comprehensive distance learning this fall. Parents and students can share how 4J can improve virtual learning. Teachers and staff can provide feedback in a separate survey.

4J families can respond to the survey on distance learning through Nov. 22. The feedback form is also available in Spanish.

Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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