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A Message from the School Board

“We ask that our community trust our district leadership, and rally in support of the teachers, staff, families and students

A Message from the Grants Pass District 7 School Board

“If 2020 were a drink, it would be a colonoscopy prep.” This analogy has recently made the rounds on social media. The United States just passed 150,000 deaths from COVID-19 and ironically every year in this country 150,000 people pass away from colon cancer. Most colon cancer deaths would be prevented if people would have a colonoscopy. Unfortunately, many people put it off or completely disregard a potentially lifesaving test. Just as a colonoscopy is able to prevent colon cancer, social distancing and masks can help prevent complications from the COVID virus. In this sense, knowledge is power. We know how to live and function safely in our environment. Despite the bad news we hear in parts of our country, Josephine County is doing well. The total positivity rate is 2.3% (Oregon is 5.8%, Texas is over 10%), and less than 10 patients have required hospitalization at Three Rivers Medical Center. We should celebrate our county for staying safe. We are doing well.

As a school board, we have received many communications from members of our community expressing their desires for both returning to school and not returning to school this year. The truth of the matter is that the decision is out of the hands of the superintendent, the school board, the teachers or the community. The Governor, with her team, will tell us when our children can or cannot return to school. What we can do, though, is to ensure that when that time comes we can do it safely, however it looks.

We wish to acknowledge and express gratitude for our school district in their heroic efforts to prepare for this upcoming year. Countless hours have been spent in preparation by administration, teachers and staff to help educate our children. Plans have needed to change almost daily as they struggle through new announcements and mandates. Their efforts need to be recognized. Their desire to continue to prepare the next generation AND keep everyone safe is exemplary.

During times of crisis throughout the world’s history, there have been those who rise up to make things better, those who hideaway, and those who actively oppose any change to the status quo. We are living in such a time. We need not be divided during tumultuous times. What is needed as a community is to focus on the important questions. The questions we should be asking are: How can we support families in the education of their children? How can we as individuals and as a community be supportive of the school district in their efforts to educate our youth? How can we work together to safely further the educational needs of the youth?

This pandemic will end, eventually. We do not need to succumb to fear. Just like a colonoscopy can protect us from colon cancer, following the recommendations from the CDC will protect us from the virus. We can and should trust that in our community we can do things the right way. We are doing things right. We can be successful in educating our youth this fall because we have a dedicated district of wonderful people who are passionate about what they do. We have parents and families who care for each other. When the time comes that we return to school, we can do it safely. We know how.

We wish to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for the many educators and staff who have been working tirelessly to prepare to teach in a new way. We ask that our community trust our district leadership, and rally in support of the teachers, staff, families and students that are involved in an important work. The education of the next generation.

We are GP! Stronger together.

Grants Pass District Seven School Board

Debbie Brownell
Brian DeLagrange
Casey Durbin
Cliff Kuhlman
Scott Nelson—Chair
Gary Richardson
Cassie Wilkins