School Classes to Start Online

Superintendent outlines plans amid COVID-19

Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero has outlined plans for holding classes online at the beginning of the school year, until at least Nov. 5 when local health guidelines for social distancing under the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) are re-evaluated.

In a letter Guerrero sent to school parents and staff last week, he said the district will start the fall semester on Sept. 2 by utilizing a new, comprehensive distance learning model, based on the best available guidance to promote public safety from health officials and Gov. Kate Brown.

“Our goal is to be prepared to engage students and provide them with a robust learning experience this fall,” Guerrero said.

The online instruction will be different from the learning experience of this past spring when schools were forced to stop classroom instruction because of the stay-at-home order by the governor to prevent the spread of coronavirus and instituted online learning from home.

It is possible that, unless COVID-19 conditions improve significantly, online learning will extend past Nov. 5.The decision will be made by Oct. 10 after considering new health information and county health metrics, Guerrero said.

“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,” Guerrero said.