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Hillsdale schools: when students can go back to class unknown

Posted April 2, 2020

Many other questions remain regarding grades, credit, graduation requirements

School closures were among the first effects of anti-COVID-19 measures, with an early start for spring break that included a week-long extension. Spring break ended on Monday, March 30, but students are not likely to be back in classrooms anytime soon. While the governor’s order closed schools until April 28, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) warned in an update to superintendents and principals dated March 30 that “there is a very real potential that our students, like in many other states, may not return to school this academic year.”

Portland Public Schools, along with other districts in the state, has shifted their focus from supplementing instruction during the initially expected closure period to a longer-term effort to finish out the rest of the year with “home-based distance learning.” In order to teach students at home, the district has been distributing personal computing devices (in most cases Chromebooks), finding ways to provide internet connectivity for families without wifi, providing paper curriculum packets at food pick-up sites, and training teachers in remote instruction.

Also yet to be determined is how third quarter/second semester grades, class credits, and graduation requirements may be affected by the loss of school days to the extended spring break and the shift to distance learning. School staff spends this time in the spring working intensively with seniors not yet meeting graduation requirements to help them get their degree on time.

As these details are being worked out, students and parents are in an uncomfortable holding pattern while at the same time adjusting to the new demands of social distancing and staying-at-home. According to the Wilson Facebook page, the Wilson High School Auction Gala has been cancelled and the auction moved online, Rieke Elementary’s annual auction will be held online, and plans for senior prom and commencement ceremonies and celebrations have been put on hold.

Wilson Principal Filip Hristić explained in an email to parents that "we are expecting the Oregon Department of Education to issue in the very near future new guidance regarding third quarter/second semester grades, class credits, and graduation requirements." Portland Public Schools is expected to announce more details on the plan for home-based distance learning soon.

Parents and students are receiving emails from teachers and school administrators. Principal Hristić holds a weekly livestream Q&A Mondays at 10am on the Wilson student Instagram account @wilson_trojans.

Valeurie Friedman

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