Students Return to Hillsdale Schools

[Posted Friday, April 9, 2021]


“RGMS Students are coming back!” Robert Gray Principal Lisa Newlyn wrote in a recent email. “Starting April 19, our doors open to 400 students returning for hybrid learning. We are very excited and busy putting everything in place to welcome their return - and our staff's return - to campus!”


Hillsdale school leaders remind the community that with students back for in-person instruction, traffic patterns and school grounds use will change. A year of distance learning has largely emptied school grounds, but that changes with students’ return to campus.The public is not allowed to use grounds during school hours, and dogs must be kept on leash. Watch for kids walking and biking, and be aware of increased car traffic before and after school.


Students have already returned to Rieke Elementary and Portland Jewish Academy. Ida B. Wells High School welcomes students back on April 19. Portland Public School students are returning to school buildings under a model of hybrid instruction that will combine in-person learning on campus for a few hours each week with continued remote education at home.

Staff at Robert Gray Middle School have posted friendly reminders for neighbors who have had free run of the grounds for dog walking, skateboarding, basketball, and other recreational activities that campuses are reserved for student use during school hours.


Outdoor spaces will likely be utilized more heavily than before the pandemic to allow for more physical distancing. Newlyn anticipates that PE and other classes will be held outdoors as much as possible and asks neighbors to wait until after school hours to use school grounds. The path at the north end of campus remains open to the public at all hours. Newlyn asks that, as always, dogs remain leashed while on school property.


Steve Albert, Executive Director of the Portland Jewish Academy, reports that their Early Childhood program has been operating since July, and that K-5 students returned on March 3. With the return of middle school students on April 12 the number of students on campus each day will grow to 300.


Students returned to Rieke Elementary for hybrid learning in March, attending in two shifts of two and a quarter hours per day. According to Principal Jon Jeans, “We are using the field and playgrounds for staggered recess rotations and students are loving being outside together, even distanced.” “People have gotten very used to using our field and facilities but now they are closed during school hours,” he said, adding: “We could use help spreading the message and understanding that Rieke is a closed campus from 7:45-3:00 during the school week.”


--Valeurie Friedman

Less commuting, more time at home, fewer crowds--what changes would you like to keep from the pandemic? Let us know.

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