By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Willamina, other schools alter class schedules

Dealing with both coronavirus-related absences and a shortage of substitutes, Willamina School District canceled classes this week, Jan. 18-21.

The district also will remain closed on Monday, Jan. 24, a planned teacher work day, and Tuesday, Jan. 25, which would have been a regular school day. Classes will resume on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Willamina also canceled extracurricular activities this week. They will resume Monday.

The district "has no plans to close in-person learning" and switch to online classes at this point, Superintendent Carrie Zimbrick said.

Willamina was one of several Yamhill County school districts that made changes this month because of rapidly increasing COVID rates.

Districts also are dealing with staff absences, many of them COVID-related, and difficulty in getting substitutes. In some cases, districts are using other employees to cover for absent teachers or hiring subs with temporary or emergency licenses.

Sheridan schools were closed Friday, Jan. 14; its fourth- through eighth-grade classes also moved to remote learning temporarily.

Dayton School District closed its high school and junior Thursday, Jan. 13, and all its schools that Friday.

Yamhill Carlton School District is continuing with in-class instruction, but is lacking bus drivers due  to positive cases and exposures, district officials said.

"We have exhausted every other option to maintain our routes, including combining routes and bringing in substitute drivers from other districts," the district posted Wednesday.

Some routes had to be canceled, and parents were asked to bring their children to school if possible. The district expected to resume all routes on Monday, Jan. 24.

McMinnville School District has seen a nearly 25% student absentee rate in secondary buildings this month, according to Superintendent Debbie Brockett.

To give teaches time to address needs of students who've missed classes, she said, the middle schools and high school started two hours late for students Thursday and today, Jan. 20-21.

Brockett sent a message to parents regarding the late starts. She also urged them to make sure "ALL healthy students attend school" those days.

Amity and Newberg have not altered their schedules.

Amity, for instance, "has not seen any significant COVID spread within school settings all year thus far," Superintendent Jeff Clark said. "Nearly all of our cases, as far as we can trace, have come from home or social setting contact."

All the school districts are following county and state health safety protocols.

These include asking anyone who has been exposed or is showing symptoms to stay out of school until they are well. Unvaccinated students exposed at school also can "test to stay," and remain in class if they have negative test results.


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