PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Just weeks into the current school year, the Beaverton School District announced Wednesday it would extend distance learning for most students into 2021.
Administrators from BSD said remote coursework would continue through the end of the first semester for grades 4-12 on February 8. The district said it was still considering whether or not to extend distance learning for grades Pre K-3.
“Some of the thoughts that went into making that decision,” BSD Superintendent Don Grotting told KOIN 6 Wednesday. “Number one, we believe our staff, students and families need to be aware as soon as possible of a decision whether its to return to in-person hybrid and or if we are going to be out for extended times so they can make plans.”
Grotting said 15% of its staff live in Washington County’s neighbor to the east, Multnomah County, according to BSD. And because the district is linked to Multnomah County, BSD does not yet meet the required metrics to return to a classroom setting:
- 10 or fewer cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in Washington (and Multnomah) County over 7 days for 3 weeks in a row
- Test positivity of 5% or less in Washington (and Multnomah) County over 7 days for 3 weeks in a row
- Test positivity of 5% or less statewide over 7 days for 3 weeks in a row
“We know that nothing replaces that one on one relationship between caring adults and we also know that distance learning isn’t working for some of our most impacted students,” said Grotting. “It was not a decision that was taken lightly but we believe it was the best decision to prepare our students and staff and families moving forward.”
The district would have to meet the listed requirements by November 16–the end of the first quarter–in order to be cleared by state health officials to have its staff and students head back to campuses. The metric requirements for Pre K-3 are trending in a positive direction, according to district officials, however, the district said it wants to wait until October 19 to make a final decision.
KOIN 6 reached out to Portland Public Schools who said it intends to stick with its set date of October 10 on whether or not to extend the current system. The Salem-Keizer and Vancouver School Districts said either the end of October or early November.
The coronavirus is increasingly infecting American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears fueled by school reopenings and the resumption of sports, playdates and other activities.
Children of all ages now make up 10% of all U.S cases, up from 2% in April, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the incidence of COVID-19 in school-age children began rising in early September as many youngsters returned to their classrooms.
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