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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: 74119

Reported Deaths: 905
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah17242236
Washington10347101
Marion9207140
Clackamas616077
Umatilla434349
Lane430942
Jackson382531
Malheur240644
Deschutes236815
Yamhill172916
Linn142423
Polk125016
Douglas93018
Klamath8724
Jefferson83411
Benton7917
Union7826
Morrow6587
Lincoln62215
Josephine5374
Wasco53019
Columbia5063
Coos4253
Hood River4011
Clatsop3600
Baker2813
Crook2296
Curry1352
Grant1341
Lake1321
Tillamook1310
Harney991
Wallowa713
Gilliam230
Sherman230
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1215455

Reported Deaths: 19151
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3958437639
San Bernardino930191129
Riverside868541437
San Diego81084997
Orange778191577
Kern41328448
Fresno38288481
Sacramento36905576
Santa Clara34292476
Alameda29476512
San Joaquin25742502
Contra Costa23895261
Stanislaus21714424
Tulare20701308
Ventura19510175
Imperial16019356
San Francisco15450160
Monterey15328121
San Mateo14148170
Sonoma12198157
Merced11688179
Santa Barbara11481135
Kings1109387
Solano1025281
Marin7755129
Placer649768
San Luis Obispo612936
Madera611985
Shasta488247
Yolo482776
Santa Cruz442628
Butte389459
Sutter333216
Napa303317
El Dorado24154
Yuba203610
San Benito188016
Lassen17733
Tehama167825
Mendocino145823
Nevada12729
Tuolumne9818
Glenn9258
Lake92019
Humboldt8509
Colusa7116
Siskiyou6242
Amador56316
Mono5483
Calaveras47822
Del Norte3281
Inyo29016
Plumas2150
Trinity1580
Mariposa1312
Modoc1310
Alpine500
Sierra190
Unassigned00
Medford
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