The Baker School District’s plan for classes when the district’s 1,700 or so students return in late August is not ideal.

But did anybody truly believe that it would be?

Very little about life has been ideal since early March, when the coronavirus pandemic began its rampage through so much of what was normal about society.

It certainly wasn’t ideal to cancel in-person classes for the whole of the spring term.

But as proposed — and it would be naive to think there might not be changes over the next 2 months — the plan the school district unveiled this week is an improvement over what happened this spring.

Most notably, students would be spending time in classrooms, with their teachers — the best way to ensure students stay on schedule for graduation.

Elementary students, from kindergarten through sixth grade, would have the same 4-day schedule as in past years.

Students at the middle and high schools would spend 2 days per week in classrooms, and the other 2 days attending the same classes online.

The main reason for the different system, Superintendent Mark Witty said, is that elementary students, because they stay in a single classroom throughout the day, don’t spent as much time in crowded hallways as do middle and high schoolers, who move from one classroom to another multiple times per day. That makes it more difficult to comply with state guidelines, which give districts some flexibility but require that, among other things, they use “staggered schedules to avoid hallway crowding and gathering.”

Witty said the district understands that some parents will be reluctant to have their children return to school, and those students will have a completely online option.

— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor

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