An Oregon school district’s unique approaches to keeping students fed

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — Lunchtime looks a lot different for students in Beaverton, Oregon, since the coronavirus pandemic began and students started learning online. For some, the cafeteria line is replaced with pickup at the curb.

“How many, guys?” asks Eva Erickson, as a family arrives to pick up the free meals. “Do you want cheese or pepperoni pizza?”

Erickson used to serve 500 students on a normal day. Now, that’s 100 — or 150 — whose parents drive by Vose Elementary. Erickson runs the kitchen there and works to make sure breakfasts and lunches are nutritious and delicious — and get into the hands of children who need them.

“That could be the only meals they’re getting,” Erickson said.

Others, like Sara Bernard, can still use the help. She lives a quarter-mile away

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Small Oregon school district in county with high COVID-19 rate sues state for barring in-person education

The school board of the tiny Adrian school district near the Idaho border has filed a lawsuit against some Oregon leaders, demanding it be permitted to educate students in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board filed the complaint Thursday against Colt Gill, director of the Oregon Department of Education, and Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority.

Adrian is located in Malheur County, which has by far the highest rates of COVID-19 infections in Oregon. It shares a border with Idaho, which has higher case rates and fewer coronavirus restrictions than Oregon.

The state has told schools they can’t operate in person, with some exceptions, unless the county’s positive test rate stays at 5% or lower for three weeks in a row. In Malheur, the positive test rate has ranged from 36% to 41% in the three most recent weeks.

The school board’s complaint claims “if the children

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Oregon Department of Education issues ban on hate symbols in public schools

The Oregon Department of Education issued a temporary ban on hate symbols — including the Confederate flag, swastikas and nooses — in public school classrooms in the state, officials said.

The “All Students Belong” rule was adopted unanimously by the state Board of Education on Thursday. Colt Gill, the director of the Department of Education, said the move came as a response to student calls for a ban.

“Our students called us out and into action,” Gill said in a statement. “The Oregon Department of Education is committed to ensuring that Oregon’s schools are safe and inclusive for all students and staff, and the All Students Belong rule is an important step in that process.”

The rule, which took effect immediately, requires school districts to implement policies by Jan. 1 that prohibit the hate symbols, except as part of the teaching curriculum. Officials said that many districts already had similar

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Thousands of Oregon families choose new online programs for their child’s public education

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

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