Parents, teachers put to test amid schools shutdown


Gov. Kate Brown decided Thursday to shutter all schools through the end of March

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Families and educators across Oregon are facing a slew of new challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic: What to do now that schools are closed?

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday that all K-12 schools will close for more than two weeks starting Monday, though the closure could be extended. At this time, classes are scheduled to resume April 1.

Some districts opted to close their schools immediately. The Tigard-Tualatin School District Board of Directors voted unanimously to shutter all of its schools on Friday. Students and their families were allowed to visit campuses on Friday morning to pick up work packets and touch bases with teachers.

Tigard-Tualatin is making breakfasts and lunches available for pickup during the extent of the closure. Other schools in the Portland metro area are also working on setting up similar programs. Portland Public Schools said breakfast and lunch will be provided to kids from March 17-20 and March 30-31. The meals can be picked up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. outside of certain schools. Click here for a full list.

There’s also the concern of how the time off will impact students academically. Many teachers at Tigard-Tualatin schools told KOIN 6 News they support the closure for health and safety reasons but worry about their students forgetting what they’ve learned. They said they plan to stay in touch with students and provide online learning resources.

Some schools, including those in the Estacada School District, have prepared a plan for online classes, making sure each student has a school-issued laptop if needed.

But larger districts such as Tigard-Tualatin don’t have an online option in place.

Tigard-Tualatin School District COVID-19 information

Meanwhile, working parents are struggling with the sudden need for child care. Some schools are helping connect families with others who are offering to help watch kids.

The Oregon Department of Education said Friday child care providers in the state are not required to close. The Early Learning Division will work in the coming days to identify those who can care for extra kids. ELD also wants federal waivers to expand child care assistance programs for low-income working families and the providers who serve them.

ELD said families whose child care provider or school is closed can call 211 for help.

ELD child care resources

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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