PPS details COVID safety measures ahead of fully reopening

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PPS to fully re-open September 1

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Public Schools have 1.7 million “age appropriate” masks in stock at schools for those who need them when schools fully re-open on September 1.

PPS officials released a 16-page document to families, showcasing the safety measures in place to keep students and staff safe and classroom open full time. (The full document is at the bottom of this article)

There are many other safety protocols in place for the school year. There will be HEPA filters in every classroom and on school buses. PPS will test for symptomatic students and staff and will make sure classrooms are stocked with disinfectant and hand sanitizer.

The CDC recommends maintaining at least 3 feet of distance in classrooms. PPS said students and staff will maintain that to the extent possible. Officials said the distancing of desks across the “majority of schools” will be 3 feet.

In the document released Thursday, PPS said they will “remain nimble to adapat to changing guidance, but firm in following the expertise of public health experts in service to our PPS community.”

Officials also said a total of 286 students have applied for their online learning academy. They have space for a total of 500. Grades 2-5 are in a lottery process as there are more applicants than spots in those grades.

‘Great amount of uncertainty’

While Portland Association of Teachers President Elizabeth Thiel is thankful the district is communicating with parents, she said the delta variant spreading through Oregon is at the forefront of her mind.

“What is on my mind right now is just the great amount of uncertainty that we are all experiencing as the things that we thought we knew about COVID seem to be called into question,” Thiel told KOIN 6 News. “Whether or not having the vaccine means that you’re unlikely to contract COVID, like that doesn’t seem to be true anymore as we have more and more examples of fully vaccinated people catching and spreading COVID in the delta variant.”

She also said she’s concerned that a “majority of schools” will be distanced at 3 feet.

“It should be that every parent knows that in their kid’s classroom there is enough space to have at least 3 feet between kids,” Thiel said. “That might mean ensuring that our class sizes are smaller when rooms are not big enough to ensure distancing.”

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