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Phoenix-Talent Schools mulling return to in-person learning after state grants special waiver

The Oregon Department of Education granted an emergency waiver to the district earlier this month, paving the way for a potential return to in-person learning for students.

Posted: Oct 21, 2020 6:22 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2020 6:23 PM

PHOENIX, Ore. — The Phoenix-Talent School District is considering a return to full in-person classes after receiving a special dispensation from the Oregon Department of Education earlier this month.

Superintendent Brent Barry addressed families and the community in an update last week, letting them know about the ODE emergency waiver.

"The trauma caused by the wildfire and students’ need for social-emotional and mental health support was a driving factor for the emergency waiver," Barry said. "For many of these students, the safest place in the community is at school."

Barry said that the District would be talking with staff and families — sending out a survey — before going ahead with a transition back to in-person learning.

"The announcement of the waiver comes with conflicting emotions for most of us: excitement to see and work with students on-site AND worry about the spread of COVID-19," Barry continued. "As we plan for in-person learning, the safety, health, and well-being of our students and staff are our top priorities."

Phoenix-Talent is one of three districts in the state to receive a full emergency waiver. Other local districts — including Ashland, Eagle Point, Klamath County, Three Rivers, and Medford — received a more limited in-person instruction waiver that only covers students who were displaced due to a loss of their home or remain in a Level 3 evacuation zone.

The waiver also comes with stipulations that the schools, in cooperation with county public health officials, fully comply with state health and safety guidelines, provide free COVID-19 testing when possible, and keep providing distance learning options for students and families who do not want to return.

Barry said that the district's Fire Relief Fund has received over $1 million in donations for the families of students who lost their homes, with $400,000 already distributed.

"Through a new partnership with Rogue Retreat, we have also helped facilitate the donation of ten RVs/campers for PTS families, with five more in the donation process," Barry said. "Thank you Phoenix Talent community!"

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154554

Reported Deaths: 2204
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31785528
Washington21060212
Marion18335285
Clackamas13310175
Lane10172126
Jackson8299111
Umatilla763181
Deschutes591859
Yamhill375964
Linn356556
Malheur334358
Polk302942
Klamath277455
Douglas242853
Benton231816
Josephine231649
Jefferson195028
Coos142519
Union127519
Columbia124321
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106329
Morrow104414
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6487
Curry4166
Tillamook4122
Lake3746
Harney2726
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3554629

Reported Deaths: 51395
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118754221106
Riverside2891853749
San Bernardino2853342673
Orange2603483889
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1098411765
Kern102627811
Fresno947941412
Sacramento929441464
Alameda800881224
Ventura77238834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55775944
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38763515
San Francisco34061398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano29968164
Merced28915395
Sonoma27954298
Imperial26843589
Kings21951218
Placer19713231
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15390209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12760185
Shasta10944174
Butte10915160
El Dorado9095100
Napa897668
Sutter884597
San Benito574359
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada393274
Mendocino379643
Amador344441
Humboldt316033
Lake313440
Glenn221023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3947
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 41°
Brookings
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 42°
Medford
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 41°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 41°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 28°
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