An Update Regarding Limited In-Person Opportunities10/15/2020
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
We are now several weeks into Comprehensive Distance Learning, and simultaneously working on the next phases of a gradual re-opening of schools. PPS remains focused on published health metrics from the county and state and our medical experts. We also continue to observe Oregon Department of Education guidelines as we contemplate introducing limited in-person opportunities. While we are anxious to have all of our students back on campus, we will proceed in a measured and prudent manner that prioritizes the health and safety of our students and employees.
As we shared last week, we will continue in distance learning through January 28, 2021. Our ability to fully open classrooms is dependent on health metrics in Multnomah County specifically, which in turn are dependent on our community following good practices, including the wearing of face coverings. We are likely months away from re-opening our school buildings in a broad manner, even for a hybrid/cohort model of learning.
In the meantime, there are opportunities to bring smaller groups of students and programs onto our school sites. Over the last few weeks, we have engaged our school leaders and consulted our re-opening blueprints to determine what limited in-person activities we can begin to offer in these early stages. For example, the Student Health Center is now open at Roosevelt High School, and we plan to open our Wellness Center at Benson Polytechnic High School within the next few weeks. We have also opened Special Education Assessment Centers at Pioneer School and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, in addition to kindergarten assessments for literacy. We continue to offer a comprehensive menu of Student and Family Supports during comprehensive distance learning, which include available academic supports, student supports, belonging and connection services, family supports and resources, and culturally specific supports. In addition, we have opened 11 school sites to child care providers. Teachers can access schools if they prefer to teach online from their own classrooms and of course, we continue to serve meals at 38 school sites, three days a week.
Another opportunity that we will make available soon is limited training for high school athletics. Beginning Tuesday, October 20, student-athletes at PPS high schools will be able to engage in limited, outdoor fitness training sessions with coaches present. These sessions will be outdoor-only, as students will not have access to indoor facilities. Students will be required to remain in weekly cohorts not exceeding 25 athletes in any group, will practice appropriate distancing requirements and will wear masks at all times. High school families should expect to receive additional information on Friday.
In addition to the limited training opportunities for high school athletes, we have assembled three limited in-person workgroups to discuss additional small group instructional opportunities for students. As we have more information, we will continue to update you.
These are all small steps, but important ones, and we are very excited to begin to see students on our campuses once more. As always, we will continue to roll out in-person opportunities only when we believe we can safely do so. Student and staff health and well-being remains our highest priority.
We are grateful for students’ patience and flexibility, and yours, as we all navigate these challenging and ever changing times together. Thank you.