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Pamplin Media Group and its partners examine the impacts that COVID-19 had on schools, and we sought solutions.

PMG GRAPHIC: KEITH SHEFFIELD - The Long Division is a months-long look at the problems of Oregon K-12 public schools underserving Latino families, and some of the solutions we found along the way.For the past several months, reporters with Pamplin Media Group has been examining K-12 public education in Oregon, specifically the gap between how well students of color are doing during the pandemic compared to their white classmates.

With exceptions, the gap between those services — the division based on race, as well as economic factors — grew worse during the months of distance learning forced by COVID-19.

Our new series, The Long Division, examines how the pandemic has impacted an educational system that was already struggling to help many families across the state.

Among our findings: Parents are opting not to enroll their children in kindergarten this year, so many, in fact, that it's the equivalent to the entire Hillsboro, Bend-LaPine or North Clackamas school district disappearing overnight. Latino and Hispanic students are struggling to attend classes. Amid all of this, Oregon's online charter schools are having a banner year as families turn away from traditional classrooms.

We also found several districts seeking solutions to this longstanding problem. Districts are leaning more heavily on local nonprofits to supplement the classroom work than ever before, while other districts have staff going door-to-door to find students who weren't participating in video conference classes.

The problem is complex, and looks different in schools across the state, but the division isn't new. The pandemic only helped highlight issues that were already there.

Read The Long Division, our new series on the impacts COVID-19 has had on the education gap


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