PPS unveils tentative back-to-school plan for fall

Coronavirus

The 2020-21 school year will start on September 2

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Public Schools shared a tentative plan for what the fall term could look like on Saturday. The 2020-21 school year will start on September 2.

Under the school district’s tentative plan, the first two weeks of the semester will be a check-in period: a time for teachers to individually talk with students, opportunities for families to get familiar with the programs their students will be using, as well as “social emotional engagement in order to help ease the anxiety and stress of the past months.” This will all be conducted virtually.

After the two-week orientation, PPS plans to use a hybrid model of in-classroom instruction and remote learning. For students in grades ranging from Pre-K through 8th, classes would be divided into two cohorts. Group A would attend class in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays, Group B on Thursdays and Fridays, and Wednesdays would be used for cleaning school facilities. PPS said this model would allow for physical distancing with only half of the normal amount of students present in school on any given day, and said school officials are exploring a similar model for middle school students.

For high school students, the district has proposed that students take four classes per semester and use a similar cohort model that would have students on campus twice a week. This schedule would allow students to complete a year-long course in one semester, said PPS.

For example, a student may have English in the Fall semester and History in the Spring semester. We believe that allowing students to focus on fewer classes will help them be more successful in an environment that is, at least for part of the year, a hybrid model of in-person and online learning. 

The district is also still working on a full-time distance learning program for students who might be unable or would prefer not to visit a physical building for the fall semester.

PPS emphasizes that they will not reopen school campuses if public health experts deem it unsafe to do so, in which case education would resume exclusively online and remotely. The curriculum would still be different compared to what students experienced this spring, with increased access to instruction and more resources made available.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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