To Our David Douglas District Families and Staff,
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order today requiring all Oregon schools to reopen to some form of in-person instruction before the end of this school year.
The order requires school districts to reopen for grades K-5 by March 29, the end of Spring Break. Districts must reopen schools for grades 6-12 by April 19.
Our District and our Board of Directors support this order, especially following our Board workshop last night. The Board had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Ann Loeffler, Multnomah County Health officer, as well as from parents and staff who asked for a return to an in-person model of instruction.
“The DDSD Board of Directors supports this executive order, and we look forward to having our students and staff back in schools and classrooms as quickly as possible,” said Board Chair Andrea Valderrama. “We still have many questions, and we are working closely with our association reps, families, and community partners to ensure culturally specific and trauma informed practices are centered in our planning efforts.”
Based on the Governor’s executive order, and in collaboration with our School Board, staff and families, the David Douglas School District will immediately begin working to meet those deadlines and reopen in what is likely to be a hybrid model – a combination of in-person and distance learning. This will allow families that are more comfortable with an online option to continue with that model.
The health and safety of our students, staff and families is always our highest priority. Any plans to reopen still must fall within health guidelines established by the Oregon Health Authority. That means mask-wearing will be required, safe distancing must be enforced, frequent hand washing and sanitizing will be required, along with all other health guidelines outlined in the state’s Ready Schools Safe Learners plan. If those health metrics and safety guidelines change, our plans will change accordingly.
While most of our teachers and front-line employees will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated by March 29, our students and many of their family members will not. Our plans must put their safety first.
Every David Douglas school already has a Ready Schools Safe Learners planning committee in place. Those committees will immediately pivot to planning to reopen for in-person instruction by the Governor’s deadlines.
Our recent community survey showed us that about 45% of our students would return to school as soon as possible. But it also showed us that about 55% may not immediately come back. This means we also must have an online option in place for families that choose not to come back into classrooms.
As always, we will continue to keep you informed as our planning proceeds.