At the end of March last year, no one could have imagined the chaos that the next year would bring. Luckily, it all seems to be coming to a close as the Yamhill-Carlton School District has made the executive decision to omit the usage of cohorts.
Following the advice of the governor, the Oregon Health Authority, and the Oregon Department of Education, the YCHS staff were able to open up the school on April 19 of this year.
However, the path to this small victory was not an easy one. “We were planning in July to have kids in the building–planning for the A/B hybrid. As we approached the first day of school, they said we weren’t able to do that. It felt like being punched in the gut. It felt like a waiting game and I wasn’t sure when it [reopening] was going to happen,” Clint Raever, principal, said.
At first, the Oregon Health Authority recommended cohorts of up to one hundred, but when large schools pushed back against this, because of their difficulty meeting these requirements, they changed the recommendations to two hundred people per cohort.
However, the Yamhill Carlton High School has 295 students, which is over the two hundred student cut off. “If every kid said they wanted to come back to school we couldn’t have done it, but we had 80 kids said they would stay in CDL, so we knew we would be under two hundred which meant we could do it [reopen],” Raever said.
Luckily, after a little over a year, the school was able to safely open its doors to all students.
The response to the reopening was overwhelmingly positive for both the students and the staff. “It was just so cool to have kids in the building,” Raever said, “There was a spark of energy that was lacking in the building. It was just so dull before that; it was like coming to an empty shell and then all the sudden there was life in the building.”
Students were also ready to come back to school–even if it meant giving up their best-loved parts of CDL classes. “My favorite part of online school was never having to pack a lunch. However, I was willing to give that up, to start making my lunches before school again, in order to get back to normal,” Olivia Davison, junior, said. “I’m happy to be back in real school. Zoom was fun for certain reasons, but I really missed all the activities that came along with in-person schooling. I missed sports and seeing my friends.”
For Kasey Vance, senior, there was a whole different reason she was ready to come back. “I wanted to come back to enjoy the last few months of [my] senior year and to see [my] friends, but I definitely enjoyed sleeping in when I was online,” Vance said.
For more information about the omission of CDL learning, contact Clint Raever at [email protected]