Hello again. I know that it is difficult to make sense of the shifting messages and climate in regard to the virus and its impact on our community. We both empathize and are working hard to make the best plans possible for Park Academy Students’ continued learning. On July 28, 2020, Governor Kate Brown announced a new set of directives and matrices, for how and when schools may choose to open in a physical capacity. Here are a few important components of those guidelines:
- Until Oregon sees a statewide positive coronavirus testing rate at or below 5% for three consecutive weeks, none of the state’s students will be allowed to reenter classrooms for in-person instruction.
- The state hasn’t met that benchmark in July but did so in April and May, state officials said.
- The statewide positive testing rate was 5% in the most recent week but 6% in each of the previous two weeks.
Brown and Oregon health officials also announced metrics for county-wide re-openings, including scenarios under which children from kindergarten to third grade would receive in-person instruction while older students studied from home. The metrics apply to both public and private schools, including Park Academy. In order for Park Academy, which is located in Clackamas County, to open for full- or part-time in-person learning in fall, we would have to meet these metrics as a county for three weeks in a row:
- The state testing rate must remain at or below 5%.
- The county must have 10 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days.
- The countywide test positivity rate must be 5% or less over that same time period.
You can review weekly county metrics here.
According to those guidelines, very few urban counties will be eligible for a physical return in the fall and we are planning for that eventuality.
While disappointing, this is not fully unexpected. Mary and I have both been hard at work on planning for a physical return, distance return, or periodic return when we have the option and it is safe to do so. We now have a solid plan in place for a physical return to campus when we are both allowed by the state and feel that we can do so safely for our students and staff. We have been and will continue to refine our distance learning planning and protocol and will share those plans with you in mid-August as they become more fully informed. We have an incredibly talented staff and community and I know we will be leaders in the educational community regardless of the path that opens to us. I wanted to send a note to acknowledge the recent changes and make sure you all knew we are working hard to do the best job we can do for Park Students. In the meantime, enjoy the summer sun (masked and at a distance from others!) and rest assured that we will keep you informed about the fall.