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St. Helens decision announced in a Tuesday night email; Scappoose's in a post to its website

   The St. Helens and Scappoose school districts both announced on Tuesday, July 28, that the 2020-21 school year would begin the same way that 2019-20 ended — with students working from home in a distance learning environment.

In a letter distributed via email to the St. Helens School District community, Superintendent Scot Stockwell announced that the district would begin the new school year with students learning from home due to continued concerns about the spread and impact of COVID-19.

In his emailed letter, Stockwell wrote that "countries that have managed to safely reopen school buildings have done so with declining infection rates and on-demand testing. Presently, Oregon has neither. The escalating infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not yet under control."

In response, Stockwell said that the St. Helens School District would begin the upcoming school year with students working from home in a "Comprehensive Distance Learning" model beginning Sept. 8.

Stockwell concluded his emailed letter by saying: "I know for many that this is a disheartening message to receive. There's nothing we want more than to be together again in our schools. Our district leaders will continue to work with staff, students, and families as we reshape our fall plans for this current, unfortunate reality. We will continue to reach out to you with updates and opportunities to provide input."

Scappoose opens from a distance

In Scappoose, in a statement posted to the district website, Superintendant Tim Porter's statement followed suit, writing that "County-specific metrics released by the governor, Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education further warn of the risk in reopening our school buildings too soon."

He went on to say that Scappoose will also begin the 2020-21 school year in a "Comprehensive Distance Learning" model on Sept. 8.

Porter then added "I know for many that this is a disheartening message to receive. There's nothing we want more than to be together again in our schools."


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