Distance learning poses a challenge


Fifth grade teacher Amanda Hohensee wears a face shield while teaching English in September. Hohensee and the rest of the Days Creek staff are teaching students from afar, for now.


Do the benefits of in-person learning outweigh the risks posed by the Coronavirus? According to most in the community, yes. 

It’s a question Douglas County School District No. 15  administrators face as students leave for the holiday break.

Results from a survey conducted among Days Creek parents released this week found that 63 percent of parents are strongly dissatisfied with distance learning. Fifty-seven percent were strongly satisfied with in-person learning, which ended mid-November after a local spike in Covid-19 cases. Thursday marked the fifth week of classes on Google Meet or via packets of worksheets.

“There is no match for attending in person school and the effects that our children feel when not able to have this structured establishment in their world,” one participant said in the survey.

Distance learning has proved to be a challenge for students.

“I don’t like it because we don’t get interaction with our peers and teachers,” said sophomore Landon Kruzic.

Good news for those wishing to return to in-person learning came from the state Thursday, although the ultimate decision rests with the school board and superintendent Steve Woods.

On Thursday the Oregon Department of Education extended the “safe harbor” exclusion for schools in rural and remote areas like Days Creek, meaning the school could reopen on Jan. 4, if Douglas County case numbers return to certain levels. 

Not all parents are ready to send their children back to school.

“Current Covid-19 numbers are really high and I am not too sure it is safe to be in school,” one survey participant said.

This week, several Covid-19 vaccines were released for distribution. Hospital workers are first in line to get the vaccine, but teachers will be among the next groups to get it, according to the Center for Disease Control. 

ODE stated Wednesday that despite rising case numbers in the state, schools do not appear to be a contributor and are handling isolated outbreaks well. In a release, the ODE said “Schools in Oregon that have continued operating in counties with case rates counts or test positivity … have generally not experienced transmission at the school site.”