Return to School FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We will be addressing frequently asked questions from our community, staff, students and families. As this situation is ever-evolving, we noted when each answer was provided. Click on the text in red, below, to see answers to that topic.

When is the first day of school?

The decision to have all students K-12 in our schools in a Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) model is a big lift for our teachers, administrators, and educational assistants, along with other staff. In order to give them time to prepare and to provide additional training in the tools they will be expected to use, the first day of school for students is now Monday, Sept. 14 (from Wednesday, Sept. 9).

By mid-August, expect your students’ schools to be reaching out with more details about the start of school and with questions about what materials and technology your family might need.

(Aug. 4)

What is the plan if the state will not allow Bend-La Pine Schools to return to school in person in the fall?

Teams from Bend-La Pine Schools are working hard to make sure we are fully prepared for remote learning for all students if necessary. While everyone—staff, students, and families—did their best this spring, we learned many lessons about what worked well and what didn’t. In addition to K-12 teams working on developing materials and units for online delivery, we are planning and hosting professional learning for staff, constructing standards of practice for teachers at all levels, ensuring the district has enough iPads and hotspots for students who need them, planning for delivery of meals, etc.

(July 28)

Is there an option for full-time online learning, upon request?

Yes. Bend-La Pine Schools Online is a robust program for K-12 that currently serves hundreds of students in both a full-and part-time status. Through this program, students receive materials such as books to read and materials for science experiments and receive instruction through live and recorded online classes. Local in-person teachers also offer personal connections for all students enrolled in the program. Families can CONNECT, learn more, and register today at Bend-La Pine Online website. Staff are available to answer questions by phone at 541-355-1052.

(from July 1 letter to families)

Who is on the planning team?

Bend-La Pine Schools has had multiple teams working on plans. Our operations supervisors began meeting in late spring to look at logistical challenges related to reopening. A team of principals, teachers, and counselors met several times in June to establish guiding principles and to design the ABC model for returning to school. A core team of district leaders has been meeting in July to complete parts 1-3 of our district plan, which focuses on assurances of compliance with the required guidelines. This team is now expanding to include our employee association presidents, along with school board representation. In August, every school and program will have safety committees of certified and classified staff and instruction committees of certified staff meeting to design site-specific protocols and practices. In addition, the district plans additional short surveys of students, families, and staff as we continue to refine our plans.

(July 28)

What is the difference between Bend-La Pine Online and comprehensive distance learning that schools will offer?

Bend-La Pine Online is a long established virtual education offering through Bend-La Pine Schools. The program, which started in 2010, serves thousands of students each year in grades K-12. Bend-La Pine Online serves students who want a full-time online experience or students who just want the option of taking an online class to complement their existing class schedule. Students enrolled in Bend-La Pine Online use the curriculum from K12 and FuelEd, depending on their level, with support from local Bend-La Pine Schools teachers.

Comprehensive distance learning, or remote learning, provides the opportunity for students and their neighborhood school classroom teachers to remain connected and engaged with standard district curricula while working from their homes. Remote learning keeps kids connected to their local school, teachers, and classroom community. When in a remote learning setting, students will be engaged in activities and projects directly related to their in-class instruction and course outcomes. District curriculum and digital tools such as Canvas, Google Classroom, SeeSaw, and WebEx, will be utilized as part of remote learning.

(July 29)

Will Comprehensive Distance Learning this fall be different than what students experienced this spring?

In a word, yes! While we are proud that our schools and educators were able to connect with students during the spring, we know that learning from a distance during this emergency closure was a challenge for many and we learned a great deal from the experience.

We are excited to implement the many lessons learned during the spring, including creating cohesive platforms and standards of practice for teachers and increased teacher training.

We are implementing and training to a more robust, consistent teaching and learning management system, which will be ready for students as we begin the new school year.

Furthermore, teachers will be providing ongoing feedback and grading schoolwork completed remotely.

(July 29, update)

Will schools continue to offer school bus transportation and meals?

Absolutely. Our operations teams are hard at work, digging into all of the requirements surrounding meal service and transportation. While we know that some specifics for these services may look different, we will continue to provide school bus services and meals to our students.

(from July 1 letter to families)

What can we expect on buses, when school resumes?

This fall, our drivers will be masking up and our students will be doing the same on school buses, per new guidance released by the state on July 22. We will also be opening windows on buses to increase air flow, as long as weather allows. And, with your help, we will be routing our buses to carry fewer students while increasing physical distance between non-family riders.

Will staff and students be required to wear masks?

We will follow the guidance from ODE and Governor Kate Brown surrounding face coverings at school. Currently, guidelines call for many staff members to wear masks or face shields. Students, particularly those at the secondary level, are encouraged to wear masks, but this is currently not a state requirement.

(from July 1 letter to families)

How will physical distancing work at elementary schools?

Oregon Department of Education capped the maximum capacity of people allowed to be in any room within a school building to 35 square feet per person. So, a 950 square foot classroom can have no more than 27 people (students + staff) in the room at one time. In addition, desks must be arranged so that there is 6 feet of distance between students. The district has measured every room in every school and we will be posting maximum occupancy signs outside each room. Schools will be developing age-appropriate lessons to teach the importance of maintaining six feet of separation between people.

(July 28)

Do all staff and students have to wear face coverings or face shields?

The information below outlines requirements and recommendations for staff and students.


Face coverings or face shields for:

  • Staff who are regularly within 6 feet of students and/or staff. o This can include staff who support personal care, feeding, or instruction requiring direct physical contact. o Staff who will sustain close contact and interactions with students.
  • Bus drivers.
  • Staff preparing and/or serving meals.

Face shields or clear plastic barriers for:

  • Speech Language Pathologists, Speech Language Pathology Assistants, or other adults providing articulation therapy.
  • Front office staff.

Face masks1 for school RNs or other medical personnel when providing direct contact care and monitoring of staff/students displaying symptoms. School nurses should also wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their role.

Students who choose not to wear face coverings must be provided access to instruction.

(information from Oregon Department of Education)

What are the required protocols for student hand hygiene?

There are two types of hand hygiene: hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds and using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60- 95% alcohol. The Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance identifies different protocols for different daily needs.

Hand Washing Required for Restrooms
The July 30 guidance (version 1.5.8) clarifies that students are required to wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when using the restroom.

Hand Washing or Hand Sanitizer is Required When:

  • Students enter school
 (Ensure hand sanitizer is available if signing children in or out on an electronic 
  • Before meals, after meals is also encouraged
  • Before and after using playground equipment
  • After coughing, sneezing or handling used tissues

ADA accommodations: Reasonable accommodations must be provided for students who require additional support to practice hand hygiene. 
Staff must work to create inclusive school culture that promotes health and safety for all. Staff must not employ punitive measures in conjunction with hand hygiene, which may serve to further marginalize students whom schools have historically and currently underserved.


  • Use hand hygiene as an opportunity to teach health-promoting habits.
  • Some students may need additional support to be able to independently practice hand 
  • As with other new routines, use responsive and positive supports to promote student 
hand hygiene.

What else should staff consider to facilitate student hand hygiene? 

  • Remind students through signage and regular reminders from staff of the utmost importance of hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. 
o Respiratory etiquette means covering coughs and sneezes with an elbow or a tissue. 
o Tissues should be disposed of and hands washed or sanitized immediately.
  • Install hand sanitizer dispensers near all entry doors and other high-traffic areas.
  • Plan ahead for the time needed to teach and support hand hygiene routines. 
Incorporate time needed for hand hygiene into the schedule or transition periods. 

(Information from Oregon Department of Education)

How will lunch and recess work at elementary schools?

Each school will be designing procedures and schedules that adhere to Oregon Department of Education guidelines around cohorts and social distancing that work for their school building layout and student population. To do this lunch will most likely take place in classrooms and students will have designated areas on the playground for recess.

How will classrooms and other spaces be cleaned?

We are adding additional custodial staff to help maintain a clean and healthy environment for our students and staff. During the school/work day, all staff will help to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in our facilities. After the end of the school/work day our custodial staff will perform a deeper cleaning of all classrooms and other spaces

(July 28)

How will students with special needs receive support?

Students will receive services as indicated on their individualized education plan (IEP) and/or 504 plan. This may look different depending on your student’s grade level and the manner in which their school will operate. You can direct any specific questions to your student’s IEP case manager, 504 coordinator, or special programs administrator.

(July 28)

How will schools and staff support the mental and social-emotional health of students? 

School teams are preparing for the mental health needs of students when school resumes in the fall, whether classes are in person or remote. We will be prepared to address the traumatic nature of having collectively lived through a global pandemic, as well as an individual’s need for transition back to the building. In addition to our current mental, social, and emotional initiatives, we will be adding specific programming to address the events of the past 6 months.

(July 28)

What if my family needs a hot spot for internet?

We ask that families reach out to their school’s FAN advocate who will facilitate the process by which they can obtain home internet access. Find a list of FAN advocates, as well as other resources, on our Families in Need webpage.

(July 28)

How will high risk staff members receive support?

Staff may have a variety of resources and/or paid leave available to them if they are in a high risk category according to CDC guidelines. Staff who are concerned about their ability to return to work due to medical conditions should reach out to Human Resources for specific information. Call: 541-355-1100.

(July 28)

What is Canvas? How will it work? How can families/students learn more?

Canvas is a learning management system that was piloted last year in several of our schools. At the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year it was decided to implement Canvas for all students in middle and high school. The adoption of Canvas not only provides teachers and students with a powerful learning platform, it also provides a consistent learning platform. Canvas can be accessed via the web or using an app. Parents will be provided with a parent login that will allow them to access detailed class information and track student progress. A Canvas help page for students and parents is currently being created and will be accessible mid-August from our district website.

​Will students receive letter grades for their work in the fall?

Yes, we are planning to offer grades (versus pass/fail) for students and to provide assessment and feedback on their work. We heard from many families and students about the importance of receiving letter grades and intend to provide that this fall.

Will students lose their spot at their magnet school if they attend Bend-La Pine Schools Online?

For the 2020-21 school year, Choice Option students who enroll in Bend-La Pine Schools Online (BLSO) and remained actively enrolled for the entirety of the 2020-21 school year will not lose their spot at the following Choice Option schools:

  • Amity Creek Magnet at Thompson School
  • Highland Magnet at Kenwood School
  • Westside Village Magnet at Kingston School
  • Realms Middle School
  • Realms High School
  • Skyline High School
  • Bend Tech Academy at Marshall High School

If there is a waitlist at the Choice Options listed above, opportunities to fill the open spot will not be offered to anyone while the student is actively enrolled at BLSO.

If a student in the K-12 Dual Immersion Choice Option desires to enroll in BLSO then they must contact Kinsey Martin, the Assistant Director ELL and Dual Language Programs, at 541-355-1026 or [email protected] to discuss the conditions under which the student would not lose their spot in the Dual Immersion Program.

If a Choice Option student enrolls in BLSO and subsequently fails to complete the coursework for the first semester, they may lose their spot at the Choice Option. The principal will consult with the superintendent or designee to determine if that student will be readmitted to the Choice Option.

In addition to the BLSO option, incoming Kindergarten students may postpone their entry into a Choice Option School until the start of the 2021-22 school year without losing their spot.

If a Choice Option student enrolls in a program or school outside of Bend-La Pine Schools (including district charter schools) for the 2020-21school year, their spot will not be held.

The official Administrative Regulation on our choice option programs can be accessed here.

Operational BluePrint for Reentry

Communication to Families

Read all of our communication to families on our Return to School webpage.

Return to School