COVID-19 coronavirus concerns close outer East Portland schools

UPDATED: Learn more about what both the David Douglas and Parkrose school systems are offering, now that outer East Portland schools will be closed for some time …

In the Hazelwood neighborhood, staff at the David Douglas School District offices work to deal with the closure of their schools, at the mandate of Governor Kate Brown.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It wasn’t what families were expecting, but “Spring Break” came early for all students in the David Douglas and Parkrose School Districts – as all schools and activities are now closed down until at least April 28.

“All David Douglas schools closed on March 16; during the closure, all sports and extra-curricular activities also will be canceled,” announced David Douglas School District (DDSD) Superintendent Ken Richardson.

“We know this will be very difficult for many of our families. Our schools provide students with reliable healthy meals and a safe learning environment while their parents or guardians are at work; and our students also will be missing out on educational opportunities,” Richardson reflected. “We are currently planning on providing meals to students during this time,”

Although this school, Ventura Park Elementary, is now closed, they’ll still be distributing packaged lunches here, and at other facilities.

DDSD offers “To-Go” breakfasts and lunches
Since the situation changed, since the superintendent’s announcement last week, DDSD Communications Director Dan McCue updated the information about food service.

“We will continue to provide meals to our families on weekdays, between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., so families can make just one trip and pick up both breakfast and lunch,” McCue told East Portland News.

The four DDSD meal sites are:

  • David Douglas High School South Building (on SE 130th Avenue)
  • Ron Russell Middle School
  • Ventura Park Elementary
  • Gilbert Heights Elementary

“Meals during Spring Break is an issue in terms of food availability. We are working on it, but as of right now, there will be no meals provided March 23-27,” informed McCue.

DDSD learning resources
The school district is providing learning resources for their students, and those options continue to grow, reported McCue. “The Oregon Department of Education is discussing now what more-formalized online learning might look like, but of course it must be available in an equitable fashion to all families.

“We have a family resources article up on our website that is a ‘living document’ and continues to grow as options come to us,” advised McCue.

To access the DDSD Resources Page, CLICK HERE.


Parkrose schools closed until
the end of April

The superintendent, and his staff, work to develop plans for the school shutdown, here in the offices of the Parkrose School District.

“The situation regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus is rapidly changing each day throughout the larger community and the world; this has required a lot of communication with local and state leaders,” Parkrose School District (PSD) Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao remarked.

“Plans are evolving for our district in the coming month, due to the Governor’s recent executive order to close schools through Tuesday,  April 28. As of today (March 19), students will be returning to school on Wednesday, April 29,” Lopes Serrao said.

One of the schools distributing lunches, starting March 30, will be this one – Prescott Elementary School.

Parkrose’s Food Resources
Because March 23 through 27 is “spring break”, and district staff was not scheduled to work then, meals will not be available that week, Lopes Serrao said.

“March 30, from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., we will have student meals available for ‘grab and go’ at the Parkrose Middle School, and all of our elementary schools,” the superintendent said, “running Monday through Friday, through April 28.”

Please note, Parkrose students must be present to get a meal. These sites will be set up for students or families to pick up food, and won’t have a gathering area to eat, due to efforts to encourage “social distancing”.

Extended Learning for Parkrose students
Lopes Serrao said they are “working on a plan” to add online and paper supports for students, and provide more extended learning opportunities, by the week of March 30.

While PSD doesn’t have enough computers for all students, the district is working to prioritize providing Chromebooks to families who don’t have access to a computer on a daily basis. To be considered for the Chromebook program, take this online survey: CLICK HERE.

For more information, see the official Parkrose School District website: CLICK HERE.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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