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: 191774

Reported Deaths: 2533
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah38030585
Washington25362229
Marion21859306
Clackamas17262209
Lane12861146
Jackson10739135
Deschutes875974
Umatilla814084
Linn485267
Yamhill442875
Klamath433061
Polk371352
Malheur350461
Josephine331669
Douglas323170
Benton306019
Jefferson217434
Coos205033
Columbia172726
Union144423
Lincoln137120
Wasco137128
Hood River118330
Morrow110115
Crook107620
Clatsop9768
Baker94714
Curry6459
Tillamook6423
Grant5065
Lake4447
Harney3418
Wallowa1825
Gilliam621
Sherman581
Wheeler281
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3760303

Reported Deaths: 62334
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123582824026
Riverside2991734588
San Bernardino2966554707
San Diego2781823725
Orange2708005008
Santa Clara1189322086
Kern1090521373
Sacramento1044911676
Fresno1017291682
Alameda876371546
Ventura809051011
San Joaquin731741391
Contra Costa68638806
Stanislaus620081056
Tulare49579839
Monterey43595382
San Mateo41903568
San Francisco36669543
Santa Barbara34323456
Solano32864250
Merced31821459
Sonoma30002318
Imperial28388722
Kings22977246
Placer22610291
San Luis Obispo21293260
Madera16444242
Santa Cruz16238206
Marin14040228
Yolo13897209
Shasta12110226
Butte11985199
El Dorado10141113
Napa985781
Sutter9421111
Yuba625346
San Benito605663
Lassen570124
Tehama556362
Nevada473675
Tuolumne412966
Mendocino407249
Humboldt398040
Amador365547
Lake347143
Glenn238225
Colusa223216
Siskiyou220523
Calaveras212553
Inyo142838
Del Norte13808
Mono12804
Plumas7106
Modoc4984
Mariposa4477
Trinity4005
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned390
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