Outer East Portland schools planning for reopening

But, see why David Douglas and Parkrose schools parents won’t be sending their kids off to class anytime soon …

When will public schools in outer East Portland reopen? Read on, and learn the latest from our two school districts.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Parents of school-age children in outer East Portland have been wondering if the December 23 advisory from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on when schools could resume in-person learning means their kids could be heading off for their classrooms soon.

Since the announcement was an advisory, and the decision of when and how to return to in-person learning remain with each school district, we checked in both with the David Douglas School District (DDSD) and with the Parkrose School District (PSD).

David Douglas Schools sets tentative reopening date

Unless there is a dramatic drop in COVID-19 infections, the David Douglas School Board has voted to keep Distance Learning in place.

In a written message, DDSD Superintendent Ken Richardson said that as the District plans any future reopening of their campuses, “the health and safety of our students, families and staff will be our highest priority. Because these health metrics were scientifically developed to prioritize safety, we will continue to use them to assist in our decision making.”

They’re not rushing to reopen campuses says DDSD Superintendent Ken Richardson; they’ll be closed through Spring Break. DDSD provided image

Recognizing that Multnomah County “health metrics” remain pegged at the “Very Unsafe” levels, and that the vaccine roll-out will be slow and the virus will continue to spread, Richardson that Distance Learning will be remaining in place for a while. On January 7 the DDSD School Board met; and the reopening of campuses was at the top of their agenda.

It will likely be some time before the David Douglas High School campus reopens.

After that meeting, DDSD’s spokesperson Dan McCue told East Portland News,

“Our Board last night extended Comprehensive Distance Learning through Spring Break – which means the earliest we could be back in school would be March 29 – barring, of course, an unexpectedly dramatic drop in infections, or an increase in the distribution of vaccines.

“Meanwhile, District leadership and staff will continue planning for the eventual reopening of our schools, whether that is ‘limited in-person learning’, a hybrid model, or a full reopening,” Richardson told families. “Those reopening plans will prioritize early elementary (Pre-K thru 3rd Grade), and certain ‘special needs’ students, before moving up through higher grades.”

DDSD lower grade schools, such as Lincoln Park Elementary, are likely to reopen before higher grade campuses.

To see all of the services still available to DDSD families, and for current information, visit their website: CLICK HERE – then click on the “2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR PLAN & FAMILY RESOURCES” banner.

Parkrose School District extends distance-learning through March

Members of the Parkrose School District School Board have been meeting to decide reopening of its campuses.

Members of the Parkrose School District have also been meeting, deciding how and when to open their elementary, middle school, and high school campuses.

After a PSD Board Meeting on January 12, Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao told families that “multiple factors influenced our Board’s decision, but the primary issue is the continued high rates of community-spread COVID-19 that has not seen a decline over the past month.”

“Distance learning” will be extended through Spring Break, announces PSD Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao.

That being the case, the PSD board voted to “extend Comprehensive Distance Learning until March 29th,” Lopes Serrao said.

Although Governor Brown encouraged school districts to use a local decision-making process to determine how our school system can safely reopen for students as early as February 15th – particularly for Kindergarten through 3rd grade – Lopes Serrao said the PSD School Board weighed the risks before making the decision for a later reopening date.

The Parkrose High School campus will be quiet, at least until April, official say.

“We all want our kids back [in school], but the serious risk of transmission in schools to students and staff is very complex, and we do not take it lightly,” Lopes Serrao remarked. “Based on the current advisory metrics, and the trends we are observing across the country, we believe the risks are [still] too high.”

When it comes time to decide on campus reopening models for their schools, Lopes Serrao said, “We need to make key staffing decisions in order to serve our students in person.”

Depending upon a number of factors, lower-grade campuses – such as Prescott Elementary School – may still be closed for several more months.

For information about upcoming meetings and other information, CLICK HERE to open the Parkrose School District website, then click on the COVID-19 Graphic on the front page.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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