PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Some Portland students could be back in school for in-person learning in about two weeks.
Portland Public Schools released details of a tentative plan for limited in-person learning. PPS says it is not a plan for re-opening schools, but it could get a small number of students back in the classroom.
“We’re going to start relatively small to work out some operational matters like transportation,” said Shawn Bird, the Chief of Schools for PPS at a school board meeting on Tuesday night.
Bird said they are aiming for a start date around January 25th. That date has come as a surprise to some teachers.
“Just with the way the pandemic’s been going and it’s not seeming to slow down,” said Gillian Murr, an 8th grade teacher at Marrysville School.
While Murr doesn’t know if her school will be offering limited in-person instruction, she says she does think if teachers are willing to go back that it’s a good idea.
“There are students who need it. We have populations who the distance learning is not working for them and if we have a group of teachers who want to be in the building and feel okay doing that, I think it’s a good idea to,” Murr said.
PPS says the initial focus will be on 16 elementary schools and two high schools to assist in credit recovery.
Bird released a statement Wednesday, which said, in part:
“The initial focus for limited in-person instruction is for younger students and sixth and ninth graders who have not been engaged or who received failing grades in the first quarter and high school students who need to make up credits required for graduation.”
Bird also said the goal is to start small, then expand its in-person offerings over time.
As some students will head back, not all teachers will be required to go back. In-person teaching will be voluntary and in addition to online education.
“I think that’s reassuring to teachers who are still anxious and nervous about being back in without vaccines and without safety protocols in place,” said Murr.
PPS says principals are finalizing logistical plans for opening schools now. It says principals will reach out to the communities that this will impact directly.