As a school year unlike any other unfolds this fall, most Oregon students have no choice but to start the year online.
But thousands of families are deciding to stay online for the whole school year, even if it’s safe to return to school in-person again. It’s one sign that online education programs launched during the pandemic could last after it’s over, providing more flexibility and options for students to learn.
Some districts are starting programs from scratch. Others expanded existing ones. Either way, from Baker City to Hillsboro, educators say they’re bowled over at how many students and parents are hungry for that option this year.
Leading the way is the second-largest school district in Oregon, Salem-Keizer, which has created an online program called Edge, which stands for Enhanced Digital and Guided Education.
When the enrollment window for the new option closed in late August, co-principals Christine Bowlby and