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Provisional plans have primary students in school buildings four days per week, others two or three

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - This Gresham High School theater class won't be able to meet like this in the 2020-21 school year due to current social distancing requirements.

Gresham-Barlow School District students can come to school buildings a few days per week this fall or opt for all online school, the district's preliminary plans show.

The district released an outline Tuesday, July 14, of a tentative plan for students to go back to school come September amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already killed more than 245 Oregonians.

Kindergarten through second graders can attend school in person Monday through Thursday with Friday as a remote learning day. Students in grades three through five, middle school and high school will be in their school building two or three days per week and learning at home the remaining days, according to the tenative plan.

"This model allows schools to maintain physical distancing guidelines," the district said in the announcement.

The district is having two online sessions for parents and others to learn more about the district's plans and ask questions. One session is 10 a.m. Thursday, July 23 and the second one is 6:30 p.m. July 23. Visit bit.ly/3ebrE7e for more information.

The Oregon Department of Education issued guidelines for schools to help them craft back-to-school plans and required them to file the plan with ODE by Aug. 15.

The ODE guidelines require students maintain 6 feet of social distance and have 35 square feet of space per student. There will be a limit to the number of people allowed in school buildings at any given time and students must wash their hands with soap and water when entering the building and several times per day. Students in sixth grade and older should wear face coverings, the guidelines said.

Reopening plans for all school districts are tentative and based on the depth and spread of the coronavirus pandemic. If health authorities determine it is not safe to open schools, districts will have to revert to all remote teaching. And, if schools open with a hybrid model and the pandemic worsens, school will have to pivot and go back to distance learning.

Gov. Kate Brown issued a statement Tuesday, July 7, that said: "If we continue to see COVID-19 case counts, community spread and hospitalizations rise, (school) districts across the state will be forced to resort to extended periods of remote instruction throughout the school year."

President Trump and the federal Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have been pushing to have all students taught daily in school buildings.

Gresham-Barlow families wanting a full-time online option need to sign up for this at their neighborhood school by Friday, Aug. 14, or fill out an online application which will be available soon.

Many school districts are opting for hybrid options similar to Gresham-Barlow. They include Portland Public Schools, Centennial and Corbett school districts.


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