Portland students head back to classrooms
Portland's youngest students headed back to their schools in atypical fashion, but the excitement and jitters were just like any other first day of school.
Kindergartners and first graders returned to classrooms Thursday, April 1, for the first time since March 2020.
Staffers greeted students at entryways, checking for properly worn masks.
Some had never been inside a classroom before. Others had grown accustomed to greeting their teacher through video conference.
A young student received a high-five and words of encouragement from her mom on the ramp outside the entrance to Jason Lee Elementary School in Southeast Portland just before 8 a.m. Another grinned and proudly displayed his name tag at the site of a press camera.
Portland Public Schools opened classrooms for hybrid learning, starting with its K-1 students April 1. The following week, grades 2-5 headed back April 5, with middle and high schoolers scheduled to return the week of April 19.
Grades K-5 will be on campus for two hours and 15 minutes each day except Wednesdays. Middle and high schoolers will come back twice a week for two-and-a-half hours at a time. The time when students are not on campus, they will be in asynchronous learning remotely from home.
Earlier in the week, Gov. Kate Brown took to Facebook Live to welcome students across Oregon back to schools.
The governor thanked teachers, parents and other school staff who made the return to school possible.
"Most of all I'd like to thank Oregon students who have persevered throughout this year," Brown said. "Distance learning has never, ever been attempted on such a comprehensive scale and I know it hasn't been easy. You will face challenges this year that no generation has ever experienced."
The governor touted a $250 million summer learning and childcare package that would fund summer academic, recreational and other enrichment activities for students across the state. The funding was approved by the Oregon House of Representatives Thursday and now heads to the Senate.
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