PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN)– Portland Public Schools say some students will return to the classroom next week — and others will stay in distance learning.

Alliance High School at meek, Faubion pre-k through eighth grade, Franklin High School, Ockley Green Middle School and Roosevelt High School will all return to in-person learning on Monday, according to the school district. Alliance High School at Kenton will return on Tuesday.

While those students will be returning to their classrooms, students at George, Harriet Tubman and Kellogg middle schools will stick with distance learning at least through the end of the month.

PPS says the beginning of the month, 86% of PPS schools have remained open for in-person instruction, while 11 schools had to temporarily transition to distance learning. 

“Similar to the pandemic’s effect on other sectors of our broader community, the latest surge in COVID-19 cases has also impacted every facet of PPS operations,” said Guadalupe Guerrero, Superintendent of Portland Public Schools. “We continue to appreciate our community’s flexibility and understanding as we navigate changing dynamics. Any necessary adjustments will continue to be guided by our goals of optimizing health & safety in our school communities and preserving a continuity of learning for our students. We will prioritize in-person learning whenever viable.” 

According to a tweet from PPS earlier this week, all students from grades 3-12 have been issued Chromebooks in order to prepare families for a potential reinstatement of temporary virtual instruction.

This comes as schools across the region attempt to grapple with numerous student and staff absences due to the current surge of COVID-19 cases. Last week, more than 17,000 Portland metro students were going remote due to COVID-related staffing shortages.

However, PPS said in a statement on Friday that student absences have decreased over the past week, going from 25% on Jan. 14 to 17% on Jan. 20. They also say substitute teacher requests have gone down from 414 on Jan. 14 to 331 on Jan. 21. 

PPS says they continue to rely on public health experts to inform their decisions related to limiting the spread of COVID-19 and take several factors into consideration when determining whether to reopen schools.