PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In 4 weeks, Portland students will be back in the classroom. Wednesday night, parents in the Salem-Keizer district got a much clearer picture of what steps are being put into place to keep students safe as the delta variant continues to surge.
Portland Public School officials told KOIN 6 News they will send updated safety guidelines and plans to families on Thursday.
Salem-Keizer Public Schools Superintendent Christy Perry spoke virtually to parents and caregivers and said the biggest goal for the upcoming school year is to keep kids in school 5 days a week.
“I just want to go back to our goal and our goal is to ensure that every student in Oregon is able to attend school in person, every school day for the entire year,” she said.
The district is implementing layers of protection in school buildings to help keep teachers and students healthy and in class.
“While we know that vaccination is the most important tool to getting past the pandemic we need to have other layers of protection because we know school is a place where we have lots of unvaccinated individuals,” Perry said.
Salem-Keizer is planning on continuing physical distancing, increased hand-washing, increased airflow in ventilation systems on top of Gov. Kate Brown’s statewide mask mandate requiring all students and teacher to wear masks indoors.
Perry acknowledged the mandate is controversial.
“I would encourage us to start thinking about how we teach our kids to show up in kindness and caring for everyone because there will be a few kids in our schools that aren’t able to mask for a variety of reasons,” she said. “I hate to see the fight over masking or not masking.”
The mask mandate is not necessarily permanent. It will be reviewed by the governor every 30 days.