Teachers at Hucrest Elementary School took shelter underneath canopy tents while students and their parents drove through the parking lot as part of a Beep and Greet event Wednesday afternoon.

“I want to go to school,” one student said as he pulled up to the second grade check-in. “I forgot how to get here.”

Students in Roseburg Public Schools’ elementary classes will have to wait a little longer before they can return to class, because of health metrics set by the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Students won’t be able to return to classes until the state positivity rating is at or below 5%.

Roseburg Public Schools has set some specific target dates for reopening to in-person learning as well, to alleviate the uncertainty for parents and teachers. If state metrics are met, kindergarten through third grade will return to on-site learning on Oct. 5, and fourth and fifth grade would return to the buildings on Nov. 2.

But teachers were ready to provide materials to students during the Beep and Greet with what some called “school in a bag.”

Each grade level had a different check-in area, and there were also tables for the booster club, music program and technology pickup.

“I’m really glad we were able to do this, because as you know we can’t do the normal ‘Meet Your Teacher’ this year,” said first grade teacher Bethany Gladding. “But it definitely gives us a chance to get them supplies and to see them. I have missed the kids a lot, so its really good.”

The first grade canopy had a big sign that read “You’re oFISHally in First Grade” with many fish on the poster, as well as the names of the first grade teachers.

Students were given goldfish crackers, a folder with important information, blocks, a math book and several other supplies they may need to get started with learning from home. The bags varied for each grade level and were put together by the teachers at that grade level.

“We’re able to see last year’s students and getting to know this year’s students has been really nice, even if it’s brief,” first-grade teacher Sandy Remington said. “They know what face they’re going to see on Zoom on Tuesday.”

It was also the first time many of the parents and students met Principal Don Schrader, who was directing traffic.

“The kids have been sitting around all summer waiting to see who their teacher will be,” he said. “The teachers that have kids from the year before are so excited to see them and I really think it motivates our kids. I think it’s good, hopefully we can keep that motivation going.”

Schrader said so far he’d been very impressed by the staff at Hucrest Elementary School.

“This group, they are truly professionals,” Schrader said. “I just suggest something and they go to work and I don’t really know how it’s going to turn out. But they started building the schedules and getting together to talk about the curriculum and really went after it. I’ve seen a lot of the plans on Google Classrooms and it’s been really impressive.”

He said the new year will be a partnership between teachers and parents as students start the school year remotely. In order to help navigate that partnership, he has also arranged for online parent meetings.

Several other schools throughout the Roseburg school district were hosting similar events this week. Students in the district will start remote learning Tuesday.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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How refreshing to see pictures of Roseburg people wearing face masks and face shields to protect themselves and others.

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