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District is 'planning this to be a temporary pause so we can safely resume in-person instruction classes.'

PMG FILE PHOTO - A decal at Lewis and Clark Elementary in St. Helens reads "masks required."All St. Helens School District schools will be closed for in-person instruction on Friday, Jan. 14, through Tuesday, Jan. 18, the district announced Thursday evening.

Throughout the district, an average of more than 30% of students have been absent, according to the district. Multiple schools have more than 40% of students absent.

Roughly 20% of staff are also out, the district said Thursday, Jan. 13, with substitutes filling less than half of those positions.

The closure will cut two days that would have been in-person. Monday, Jan. 17, was already scheduled to be a day off school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The closure was announced in an email just after 5 p.m. Thursday.

The district's email said the pause would be for in-person instruction but did not say if remote instruction would take place.

"The new CDC and OHA 5-day quarantine guidance plus extending the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday should allow a large number of students and staff who are currently out sick or quarantined to return," the district email stated.

It added, "We are planning this to be a temporary pause so we can safely resume in-person instruction classes for our students."


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