The 2021-2022 school year is off to a strong start with the return of our full-length day after the transitions and sacrifices of last year's Comprehensive Distance Learning and abbreviated return to campus to end last year.

A great deal of thanks is due to our families, staff and students for their flexibility and creativity navigating COVID and the Holiday Farm Fire! You are what makes McKenzie the special place it is! Our team is truly grateful for our students, staff and community.

Many parents and community members requested more communication from the school this year, so we are bringing back the "From Mr. Tompkins' Desk" Blog. Mr. Tompkins hopes this additional line of communication is worthwhile and helps close the information gap that some of our McKenzie community is feeling.

It is also his hope that this blog can be another avenue to communicate our theme of Gratitude this school year. McKenzie students and staff will be taking time each day to demonstrate gratitude for all we have. Studies show that sharing gratitude increases happiness in both the person giving gratitude as well as those receiving it. After the year and a half we've had as a school and community, who couldn't use a little bit more happiness? We are truly grateful for our students, staff and community members!

UO game and Tailgate
A big thanks to the anonymous donor who helped send some of our McKenzie families to the Ducks game on Saturday!

Thank you to Kendall Auto Eugene and The Hope Project for serving up a fun tailgate and keeping us dry during that crazy downpour. 

Here's a snapshot of the fun!
Take a look at the first day of school!
Health Guidelines
We will continue to align ourselves with the The Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework. We will be following those guidelines. Our priority is to safely bring students back to school full-time and keep schools open and kids in classrooms throughout the school year.

Vaccinations: Vaccinations are proving to be the best defense against COVID-19. We will continue to work with Lane County Public Health to make vaccinations available to eligible populations in our community by hosting vaccination clinics. Everyone age 12 and over is eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 now. Authorization of vaccines for youth under 12 is expected this fall or winter. Lane County Public Health will be hosting a vaccination clinic for eligible students at our Welcome Back BBQ Friday, September 17th. As you know, Gov. Kate Brown recently announced that Oregon would require all public and private school teachers, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.Oregon school staff will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Oct.18. Exceptions may be made for eligible medical or religious reasons. 

Face Coverings: We will follow Oregon Health Authority’s statewide rule (OAR 333-019-1015) requiring face coverings in all indoor school settings, both public and private, for all individuals two years and older, including all students, staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors. This rule is in response to the sharp uptick in the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon and the emergence of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19. Face coverings will also be mandatory on district buses due to CDC requirements for public transportation. 

Physical Distancing: Reflecting the guidance, we will continue to support and promote physical distancing of students and staff. We will continue to distance in classrooms, the playground and during transitions when students are standing in line. Floor markings will remain a fixture of McKenzie’s spaces.

Cohorts: Students will continue to be tracked and placed into stable cohorts to the greatest extent possible, especially in our younger grades who cannot benefit from vaccinations. Cohorting helps reduce the number of people exposed and helps identify those who may have been exposed in case of an identified COVID-19 case in the school.

Entry Screening, Isolation and Testing: Students will continue to be screened for illness when arriving at school each day. Preventing ill students from coming to school helps prevent the spread of many illnesses beyond COVID. Students who show sickness symptoms during screening or during the day will be referred to our isolation room in the elementary office. Parents will be notified to pick up their student. We will continue to provide COVID-19 rapid tests this year to ill students with parental consent. The District is required to exclude students who demonstrate primary symptoms of COVID-19 as we were last year.

Hand Hygiene: Regular hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer will continue to be emphasized throughout the school year. Practicing safe hygiene helps prevent the spread of COVID and other illnesses we regularly encounter at school.

Increased Sanitation: McKenzie’s custodial staff will continue focusing on increased sanitation efforts throughout the buildings, playgrounds and other common areas. 

Air Purifiers: Thanks to a generous donation by BlueAir last year, McKenzie’s classrooms will continue to have HEPA filters in place during the year. This filtration can help ensure cleaner air for students and staff.

Increased Airflow: Buildings will continue to be opened up as much as possible, including doors and windows to get more fresh outdoor air circulated into classrooms.

Training: Regular training for staff regarding health and safety protocols will occur at the beginning of the year and regularly during the remainder of the school year.

Visitor Policy: Visitors must wear face coverings and check in at the office for health screening. Visitors will not be allowed in the building past the office. 

Quarantining and contact tracing: If we have a confirmed case of COVID at school, we will work directly with our district and Lane County Public Health to communicate with families. If students must quarantine, they will have access to class materials and assignments. 

Athletics COVID & Wildfire Smoke Protocols: McKenzie athletic teams will continue to follow OSAA recommended protocols during the season. Coaches and Administrators will regularly monitor air quality both indoors and outdoors to ensure safety from wildfire smoke exposure.

Weekly COVID Screenings: We will be offering weekly covid screening testing for interested families. More information to come soon. 

Safety Tips for Households
Here are 5 helpful tips from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for safety as we head back to school.

  1. Make a plan to vaccinate all eligible household members. As school starts, help protect your child and their classmates, including those too young to get vaccinated, by making sure to vaccinate all eligible household members.
  2. Wear face coverings or masks in public and carpools. Face coverings effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the need to be quarantined and miss in-person learning.
  3. Limit gatherings with other households for now, including big events for kids, like birthday parties. If your kids have an early fall birthday, celebrate with just your household. You might consider postponing larger celebrations until the Delta variant’s rapid spread has subsided (plan a half-birthday bash!).
  4. Move social activities outdoors. To help minimize kids’ exposure to COVID-19, try to plan outdoor activities when possible, especially with other households.
  5. Make a plan if your child is going to need to miss class. Being prepared can make this difficult time easier and will help your child transition to and from the classroom. 
Thank You - The Hope Project
We welcomed back our teachers and staff to campus Monday!

A huge THANK YOU to the The Hope Project for bringing coffee, breakfast and amazing school supplies for each of our teachers.
This was the perfect kick-off to our school year as we look to welcome students back safely next week.

Project Overcome - Please Take This Survey
If you haven't already filled out this survey above, please fill it out! We know some of you filled it out at registration, so thank you.

As you know, McKenzie School District recently won a Project OVERCOME grant that aims to rebuild and improve internet services in the region. As part of the grant, researchers are looking to understand the positive benefits of better Internet services.

This survey will help move the wireless internet project ahead. But, first, they need to understand your interest in internet access and the available access to you and your household. 

There is no correct answer for any of these questions, and if there are any questions you prefer not to answer, you can leave them blank.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to complete this short survey and supporting community rebuilding. Selected participants may be contacted by the school with an offer of free internet.
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