(The Center Square) — Students will be returning to Portland Public Schools through their computer screens through much of the fall, the district announced Tuesday.
All district students Pre-K through the 12th grade will be learning online starting Sept. 2 through the end of the first quarter on Nov. 5.
"As an educator, I know that there is no true replacement for face-to-face learning and the interaction between a student and a dedicated teacher or staff member," Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said in a statement. "But our announcement today is in keeping with our highest priority during a global pandemic, which is the health and well being of our students and employees."
The district's previous preliminary plan released earlier this month included a mix of in-person and online learning. It allowed for parents to have their children opt out of in-person instruction entirely and learn online full-time.
Other districts are taking slow starts to the school year, including Salem-Keizer Public Schools, which will see K-10 students attending school in person the week of Nov. 16 at the earliest. Grades 11 and 12 are tentatively slated to begin in-person instruction on Feb. 2, 2021.
The news follows new state school reopening guidelines announced by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday, which allow schools to open so long as COVID-19 case counts are low.
As of July 28, the Oregon Health Authority reported that Multnomah County had 50.1 COVID-19 cases per 10,000 – far above the state's requirements of 10 or fewer cases per 100,000 people over one week.
Over the course of July, the state averaged 322 new COVID-19 cases a day.