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Petition Calls For Delay In School Start Amid Delta Surge in Lane County

Rachael McDonald

Some parents of Eugene 4J students are asking the district to postpone the first day of school as the Delta variant surges through Lane County. A petition is circulating to push for the delay. 



The petition states that this is the worst time in the pandemic so far. It asks the district to delay school until case counts and hospitalizations go down from a “high” level of community transmission to “moderate” under CDC metrics. Students like 2nd grader Skyla Chavez are looking forward to seeing their friends back at school. She spoke at Wednesday’s school board meeting with suggestions on how to keep kids safe.

 “Cafeterias are very crowded,” Chavez said. “Kids can’t’ sit far apart in there and we can’t eat with our masks on. Maybe we can eat lunch outside like we do at a restaurant. Maybe we can build tents in case it rains.”

Chavez added that some kids can’t afford good reusable masks so they should be provided to all students. And she asked for more rigorous coronavirus testing.  There is also a petition to require outdoor lunch at Eugene 4J Schools. 

At Wednesday’s meeting, two doctors shared advice for a safe resumption of in-person classes.

Serena Black is a pediatric hospitalist at Peacehealth. She said she has two elementary school children and she plans to send them to school.


“What would make me feel most comfortable as a parent, but also as a pediatrician in the community is to know that there are plans in place for helping kids to maintain the masking, especially the younger kids,” Black said. “Adequate access to hand hygiene, lots of hand sanitizer, space when possible, good ventilation, and then a plan in place for if a kid does become symptomatic, how we’re going to test and help people quarantine.”

 The district will require mask wearing at all times except during lunch and recess. Schools will encourage lunch to be eaten outdoors when possible.

The district has opted into a voluntary weekly testing program through the University of Oregon.

There is also a petition to require outdoor lunch at Eugene 4J Schools. 

More on 4J's reopening plans here.

 Copyright 2021 KLCC. 

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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