PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Public Schools has set a tentative Sept. 14 start date for the 2020-21 academic year, but the state’s largest district will only have students attend in-person classes two days per week, if at all.
Students and families should be ready to go online beginning Sept. 2, as teachers will offer individual consultations and technology checks, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
“It is important that our students, families, and employees understand that we will only reopen school buildings if public health experts say it is safe to do so,” district officials wrote over the weekend. “If we are not able to safely open … all teaching and learning for every student will take place virtually.”
Under the proposed reopening plan, educators will spend two weeks training in how to use online learning tools and helping students and their families adjust to long-term distance learning.
If in-person learning is OK’d, classes from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade will be split into two cohorts with one group attending class on Mondays and Tuesdays while the second group attends Thursdays and Fridays. Each group will attend classes virtually on the two days they are not in the buildings.
Portland Public Schools is also developing a full-time distance learning program for families who opt to keep their children home. District officials say all students may need to move back to digital learning if coronavirus cases spike.
The district is considering cutting high schoolers’ course loads in half.
“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,” officials said.