Fights, Lack of Social Skills for In-Person Classes Prompt School to Go Remote for 3 Weeks

Reynolds Middle School in Fairview, Oregon, will go back to remote learning because of student fights and a lack of social skills.

The school will take the time to create safety protocols, the Associated Press reported. Reynolds School District Superintendent Danna Diaz said in an email that more than 18 months of classroom disruptions have "taken a toll" on students and staff.

The school returned to in-person learning this fall, but it was stunted by COVID cases among students and staff and resulting quarantines. Diaz said students are "struggling with socialization skills" and require more support socially and emotionally.

"The safety and security of our students, families, and staff is our highest priority," Diaz said in her email.

The district closed all of its schools in March of 2020, then reopened for hybrid learning in the spring of 2021, following Governor Kate Brown's direction.

The school is the only one in the district to use remote learning to discuss behavioral problems, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive. Marc Siegel, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Education, said the department has no role in approving the district's school closures.

Reynolds Middle School students will get three full days off from school—Thursday, Friday and December 6, that weren't scheduled. The school staff will use the time to develop "safety protocols" and create "social and emotional supports."

Students will have two days where they get 30 minutes of direct instruction online, then spend the rest of the day learning by themselves, and eight days in which they get 3 hours, 34 minutes of in-person instruction.

"We apologize for any inconvenience this temporary transition may cause," Diaz said in her email. "We are confident that we can put necessary supports and operational procedures in place to effectively provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff during this time."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Reynolds Middle School, Remote Learning, Fights
After fights and a lack of social skills, Reynolds Middle School in Fairview, Oregon, has decided to go back to remote learning for three weeks to create safety protocols. Above, an empty hallway at Sun Yat Sen M.S. 131 on May 5, 2021, in New York City. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The school, in Fairview, is one of three middle schools in the district. It serves students from parts of Gresham, Fairview and Wood Village.

Steve Padilla, a district spokesman, said the 928-student school would be closed for in-person learning from Thursday through December 9, with each grade level returning for one day of classroom instruction in that last week. The school will fully reopen on December 10.

The district is acting swiftly because it doesn't want to wait for the next incident to occur, Padilla told the newspaper, adding that no fights had involved weapons.

"We need to take care of this now," Padilla said. "It's urgent."