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: 314841

Reported Deaths: 3624
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah51325643
Washington35086277
Marion32748396
Clackamas26680275
Lane24145248
Jackson21050257
Deschutes16703103
Umatilla12736125
Douglas10795188
Linn1051487
Josephine8685169
Yamhill752099
Klamath651892
Polk629171
Malheur485567
Benton463728
Coos420669
Columbia325439
Jefferson315347
Lincoln277930
Union274838
Wasco242339
Crook213639
Clatsop213225
Tillamook182023
Baker176123
Morrow168621
Curry167817
Hood River163435
Harney82319
Grant7848
Lake6988
Wallowa50811
Gilliam1374
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4651497

Reported Deaths: 68087
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144634825870
Riverside3583834802
San Diego3502674021
San Bernardino3475745507
Orange3150815355
Sacramento1507202105
Santa Clara1407321841
Kern1362881521
Fresno1361631889
Alameda1164051330
Ventura978991120
San Joaquin975341615
Contra Costa95858924
Stanislaus808921235
Tulare73111896
San Mateo52311607
San Francisco52008605
Monterey49485565
Solano44247312
Santa Barbara43189500
Sonoma39476378
Merced39446536
Placer36612364
Imperial34285755
Kings30179285
San Luis Obispo28351313
Madera21749263
Butte21379231
Shasta20763279
Santa Cruz20176211
Yolo19192239
Marin17127242
El Dorado16037127
Sutter13122153
Napa1228795
Yuba928061
Nevada850185
Humboldt831988
Tehama827784
San Benito709567
Mendocino691176
Lassen637927
Tuolumne616993
Lake605887
Amador493059
Glenn399030
Siskiyou391541
Calaveras342766
Del Norte339034
Colusa291018
Inyo166739
Mono14935
Plumas12406
Mariposa100712
Trinity72610
Modoc6278
Unassigned2120
Sierra1980
Alpine1000
Out of CA00
Medford
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Brookings
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Crater Lake
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Heating up again late week.
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