Fall 2020: Classes Will Be Online Until At Least November 5
July 28, 2020
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
I am writing to let everyone know that after reviewing the best available guidance from health officials, and following today’s announcement by Governor Brown regarding new health metrics and standards for opening schools, we have determined that the PPS fall semester will begin online, using a new, comprehensive distance learning model. This means all students PreK through Grade 12 will participate in an online learning model from September 2 (the first day of the 2020-21 school year in PPS) until at least November 5, which is the end of the first quarter.
I want to acknowledge that we have all been anxious to learn what the new school year might look like, and that this news may provide a sense of assurance to some and a further challenge to others. Nearing the end of the summer now, we all hoped to be in a different reality with this pandemic. We believe it is both responsible and critical to base our decisions on what will best ensure the health and wellness of our students and staff. For those of us who serve in public education, we will always prefer to have our students engaged in classroom-based learning, but given current conditions, it would be unsafe to have significant numbers of students and adults back on campus at this time.
It is possible that, unless COVID-19 conditions improve significantly, online learning will extend into the second quarter. We will assess all available public health information and county health metrics, in addition to regularly consulting with our medical advisory team of health experts, to help make a decision about reopening school campuses for the second quarter of the school year. We will communicate our plans no later than October 10. Until then, comprehensive distance learning will be the PPS model of instruction for all students until at least November 5.
As an educator, I know that there is no true replacement for face-to-face learning and the interaction between a student and a dedicated teacher or staff member. But our announcement today is in keeping with our highest priority during a global pandemic, which is the health and well being of our students and employees. We are joining a growing number of school districts across Oregon and the U.S. deciding to begin the year in a distance learning model.
As far as what comprehensive distance learning will look like for PPS students, you should know that this model will be different from the student learning experience of this past spring. Our goal is to be prepared to engage students and provide them with a robust learning experience this fall. You can find more information in the frequently asked questions section at the end of this message, and we will continue to share more details in the days and weeks ahead.
During the first two weeks of school you can expect your children to connect with their teachers, become oriented to their learning platforms and participate in activities that support interconnectedness with their classroom and school communities. After the first two weeks, students will follow a regular weekly schedule and will have daily interaction with their teachers. Grades will be given and attendance will be taken.
Although this will be an unusual start to the school year, we are working diligently to create new opportunities, establish support structures for students with special needs and ensure our Black, Native and Students of Color have access to culturally specific supports. This includes a continued and strengthened partnership with our culturally specific community based partners, continuing to braid our racial equity and social justice strategies into our instructional core and developing supports that begin to address the trauma, emotion and mental health impacts of these times.
Families and staff can expect additional updates and information before the start of the new school year. Our teams are working tirelessly to make the transition to comprehensive distance learning as smooth as possible. Next week you will also receive more information on timelines for our continued technology device roll-out.
Please check your inboxes regularly and visit this page (pps.net/fall2020) for up to date information about the start of the school year. You can also watch the July 28 Board of Education work session where staff presented an update, by clicking here.
It will be some time before students can return to their schools, but the health and wellness of our children, youth, and employees have to come first. We are fortunate to have such supportive labor partners, community leaders, elected officials and health officials that are working in collaboration with us every step of the way. It is our collective commitment to do everything we can to support you, your students, and the outstanding educators whose dedication and creativity we count on to make distance learning a positive learning experience for every one of our students. And as soon as it is healthy to do so, we will once again open our classroom doors, but in the meantime, we look forward to seeing our students learning and growing together, virtually.
Where can I read the most current updates regarding PPS plans for the Fall 2020?
Will the distance learning model be the same or different from last spring’s model?
What will a typical day look like for students?
What additional supports will be available to students and families?
What will special education services look like in the fall?
What about evaluations for special education from the spring?
Is PPS providing computers to students?
What about athletics?
What digital learning platforms is PPS using this fall?
How is this going to roll out in September? Will my student log in and start classes right away?
Will PPS offer child care this fall?