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.

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)

Will schools continue to offer school bus transportation and meals?


Families can find a list of schools serving free Grab and Go meals on our School Meals webpage.

Additionally, 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.

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 face coverings?

Per ODE Guidance, page 30, “Face coverings are required for all students in grades kindergarten and up, along with all staff.”

Mask Policy (Restrictions on Face Shield Use): A cloth, paper, or disposable face mask (without valves) that covers the nose and the mouth is the requirement for all BLS students and staff with some exceptions. When exceptions apply, a face shield is permissible, but other safety practices should be implemented, such as maintaining more than 6 feet of social distancing and/or added ventilation of fresh air. See the CDC website for information that supports this decision

The exceptions are:
1. For provisions applicable to staff/students protected by ADA or IDEA 

2. For safety reasons, such as a bus driver when a mask impedes vision

3. For specific and time-limited instructional needs such as speech and language, LIPS reading group, ELL lessons or other examples when viewing a teacher’s or student’s mouth is essential to that portion of the lesson. As soon as possible within the lesson, masks should replace the shields;

4. For younger children moving into in-person education who exhibit severe emotional dysregulation when wearing a mask. Staff should employ strategies to transition them from shields into mask wearing: mindfulness exercises, increase in the frequency of outdoor mask breaks, and other trauma-informed best practices.

5. People who are deaf or hard of hearing, or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired.

6. Other time-limited exceptions of short durations may be made with administrative knowledge.

A cloth mask with a clear panel is an acceptable option, as is the use of a shield over a mask for added protection. Individuals working in a private, single use workspace and outside workers who can maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing do not need to wear a mask or shield.

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)

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.

Each school has convened its Safety Team made up of a variety of staff members to create a plan on how they will implement ODE’s safety requirements for in-person instruction. Please click here to view elementary school plans which include lunch and recess procedures. Middle and high school plans will be added after their hybrid schedules have been finalized in early November. Schools will communicate with their families the essential features of their school’s plan and regularly update them throughout the school year.

How will classrooms and other spaces be cleaned?

Families can learn more about our cleaning protocols in our online document.

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.

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 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)

Will transportation and meals still be provided?

Transportation and meals will be provided at school for ‘in-person’ school days. Grab-and-Go meals will continue to be available to families when their students are not in-person learning at school.

Will parent-teacher conferences or other meetings with my student’s teacher(s) be held?

Schools will maximize video and telephone meetings between parents/caregivers/guardians for teacher conferences and other meetings with district staff.

Will athletics and activities resume with Balanced/Hybrid instruction?

Monday, Sept. 28, OSAA season 1 will begin at local high schools. Conditioning and training workouts will continue as we transition into balanced/hybrid learning contact your school's athletic department and coaches for specific dates and times. Remember for participation in season 1 athletics, all athletes are required to register for their sport(s) through their school's Family ID page, have a current physical on file at their school, and suffice OSAA and Bend-La Pine eligibility requirements for participation. Pay-to-play fees for season 1(fall) have been suspended.

Middle school athletics will not be offered in season 1. Opportunities for football and volleyball camps are being offered through Bend Parks and Recreation, if you are interested contact Greg Brady with BPRD for details. We will mirror the high school sports calendar with our middle school offerings and the tentative start date for middle school season 2 (winter sports) will be boy's park and recreation basketball in early November. Girls basketball and wrestling will tentatively follow beginning in January. Fall sports will move to a season 3 later in the school year with the opening dates for season 3 (fall) and season 4 (spring) still to be determined. Early October middle school athletic directors and administration will make decisions on seasons 3 & 4. Look for plans to be communicated through your middle school's athletic department early to mid-October.

Please stay connected with your student's coach and regularly check your schools athletic website for updated details and schedules.

Are child care options through Bend Parks & Recreation Department still available for days when my child is not in-person?

Yes. We’re still working out the details, but students enrolled in the BPRD child care program will still be able to participate on days they’re not at school for in-person instruction. Stay tuned for additional details from BPRD.

Where can I find out more information about Bend-La Pine Schools’ return to in-person school plan?

Bend-La Pine Schools was required by the Oregon Department of Education to develop and receive school board approval on an Operational Blueprint Management Plan prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year. Learn more and view our management plan and individual school blueprints on our website.

Operational BluePrint for Reentry

Communication to Families

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

Return to School

Hybrid Learning

Hybrid Learning

Comprehensive Distance Learning

Comprehensive Distance Learning

Support for Families

Support for Families

Health and Safety FAQ

Health and Safety