Superintendent Message, May 19, 2020
I hope this message finds you all healthy and safe. It has been a number of weeks since I have last communicated with you. In the interim, I trust that building administrators and individual classroom teachers have been in regular contact with you since we transitioned to Distance Learning for All on Monday, April 13.
During our emergency closure, we have been serving approximately 5,900 meals weekly at our designated sites of the PELC, Sherwood Elementary, Washington Elementary, the Recreation Center at CTUIR, and satellite distribution sites in Adams, Cayuse, Meacham, and Reith. Nearly 900 Chromebook devices have been deployed to serve approximately 1,175 students. In addition, we have distributed over 1,000 learning packets for students pre-K through 8th grade.
All sites have provided opportunities for students to gather their personal items, with very few remaining to be picked up. Any unclaimed items remaining will be gathered on Friday, June 5, from the school sites and be delivered to the District Office. After June 5, parents can claim items at the District Office located at 107 NW 10th Street between 8 am and 4 pm, Monday through Thursday. Items not claimed by August 1 will be donated to local community organizations.
PHS senior students and their parents received updated information last Thursday, May 14, regarding graduation that will occur on Saturday, May 30. Although there are still logistical details to be worked out, a livestream virtual ceremony will begin at 10 am at the Round-Up Grounds, followed by a modified strategy to distribute diplomas.
The current plan for Hawthorne graduates is to conduct a graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 27, in the PTEC parking lot beginning at 6 pm.
All ceremonies will be conducted in compliance with the most recent social distancing guidelines.
Re-opening Umatilla County vs. Schools:
Most of you are likely aware that in order for counties throughout the state to re-open, certain conditions had to exist. The Governor’s Office has set three distinct phases that each county will need to progress through in order to return to pre-pandemic life. I say this assuming that even once the pandemic is behind us, there is a high probability of refined social behaviors that will be implemented on a permanent basis.
On Friday last, May 15, 31 of the 36 counties in the state were allowed to enter into Phase 1 recovery by the Governor’s office. If you are interested in learning more about the phases, the businesses and organizations that are impacted, please go to the following sites: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19/ or https://www.myoregon.gov/2020/05/07/gov-kate-brown-releases-plan-for-rebuilding-a-safe-and-strong-oregon/
In short, Phase 1 has no impact on public schools. Put another way; our buildings remain closed to students through the end of the school calendar year. The operation of schools and the conditions by which we will operate will not be considered until Phase 3. There are still too many unknowns to have any substantive conversations about when schools will re-open, so for now, we need to continue good hygiene, practice the social distancing guidelines in place and hope that we can mitigate the health hazards this virus inflicts in order to return a safe, social and healthy way of life.