We know you are getting a lot of questions about what Hybrid Instruction would look like for students. We don’t have all the answers, because PPS has not yet shared a detailed plan.
In the linked document (also shown below) are our best responses to some common questions that families may have, based on what PPS has presented, and on the safety parameters described in ODE’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners Document, Version 5.5.0, January 19, 2021 (RSSL).
We hope it will be helpful in creating a clearer picture of what students would experience in a Hybrid learning environment.
Portland Association of Teachers
What Will K-5 Hybrid Instruction Look Like in PPS?
We are getting a lot of questions about what Hybrid Instruction would look like for students. We don’t have all the answers, because PPS has not yet shared a detailed plan. Below are our best responses to some common questions that families may have, based on what PPS has presented, and on the safety parameters described in ODE’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners Document, Version 5.5.0, January 19, 2021 (RSSL).
During the ongoing pandemic, Oregon schools must follow the required guidelines set out by ODE in RSSL. In this document, the bullet points are taken directly from RSSL guidelines, and unless otherwise noted, schools are required to follow them.
Q. Why hybrid? Why can’t my student go to in-person school, 5 days a week?
A. Hybrid instruction is an attempt to give students as much in-person instruction as possible, given the safety guidelines that must be followed, and the resources that schools currently have. The RSSL guidelines require 35 square feet per person. Most classes in PPS have 25-30 students per teacher, but most classrooms can accommodate only 10-14 students with safe spacing.
Teacher and Student Relationships
Q. If I choose hybrid instruction, will my student have the same teacher and class they have now?
A. Unknown. PPS has said they would try to keep students with their current teacher, but this could depend on many factors, including the number of students in the class, how many students choose Hybrid or Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL), the size of the classroom, and the model of hybrid instruction that PPS designs.
Q. If I choose Comprehensive Distance Learning instruction, will my student have the same teacher and class they have now?
A. Also unknown. See above. If teachers are instructing more than one cohort of Hybrid learners, it is unclear when or how they would have time to support CDL learners.
Q. Will the teacher be able to assist my student?
A. The teacher will do their best to assist your student. Following RSSL guidelines, the teacher and students must wear masks. Teachers must also maintain a 6 foot distance from your student as much as possible. In a simulcast model, the teacher would be instructing students who are at home and participating through video-feed at the same time that they would be instructing the students in the physical classroom.
Classroom Capacity & Spacing
Q. Can my student move freely around their classroom?
A. No. Six feet of distance must be maintained at all times. The District has rearranged student desks and other seat spaces so that staff and students’ physical bodies are six feet apart to the maximum extent possible while also maintaining 35 square feet per person; RSSL guidelines outline assigned seating so students are in the same seat at all times.
Q. Will my student participate in group or partner work? Can my student sit somewhere different than their assigned desk?
A. Students are to have the same seat at all times. Other furniture and group carpet options have been removed from classrooms. Any group or partner work would need to be done from assigned seats, which are spaced 6 feet apart. Further, RSSL guidelines include:
“Consider removing upholstered furniture and soft seating and replace with surfaces that can be wiped down and cleaned easily.” Recommended, Page 40
Q. Will my student need to wear a mask while they are at school?
A. Yes, even when outdoors.
“Face coverings should be worn both indoors and outdoors, including during outdoor recess.” Required, Page 30
“Some exceptions for ADA, IDEA, etc.” Accommodations, Page 30
Q. Will the teacher be wearing a mask? How will that work for instruction?
A. Yes, everyone must wear a mask. Educators will do their best to communicate with students, but must wear a mask for everyone’s safety. In a simulcast model, the teacher will be wearing a mask while teaching CDL students, as there would be in-person students in the room at the same time.
Q. Can students share supplies and other classroom manipulatives?
A. No, students will need their own supplies. Anything that is shared must be disinfected between uses. RSSL guidelines state:
“Avoid sharing of community supplies when possible (e.g., scissors, pencils, etc.).” Required, Page 40
“Clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, transport vehicles) and shared objects (e.g., toys, games, art supplies) between uses multiple times per day.” Required, Page 45
Q. Will my student be able to play with others during outside recess?
A. Yes, but 6 feet of distance is to be kept, even when outside. Students also need to stay within their stable cohort, even when outdoors. RSSL guidelines include:
“Maintain physical distancing requirements, stable cohorts, and square footage requirements.” Required, Page 41
“Before and after using playground equipment, students must wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol.” Required, Page 41
“Design recess activities that allow for physical distancing and maintenance of stable cohorts.” Required, Page 41
“Designate playground and shared equipment solely for the use of one cohort at a time and sanitized daily.” Required, Page 41
Q. Can my child eat at school?
A. Only during designated times with distance protocols in place. PPS is planning for “Grab and Go” meals that would be eaten off campus. RSSL guidelines state:
“At designated meal or snack times, students may remove their face coverings to eat or drink but must maintain six feet of physical distance from others, and must put face coverings back on after finishing the meal or snack.” Required, Page 42
Moving in Hallways and other Activities
Q. Will my student get to use different spaces and resources within the building?
A. No. You can expect your child to stay inside the classroom. Movement inside the school building will be limited. RSSL guidelines state:
“Limit transitions to the extent possible. Create hallway procedures to promote physical distancing and minimize gatherings.” Required, Page 39
Q. Will my student be able to participate in traditional field trips or school assemblies?
A. No, those activities do not allow for needed physical distancing requirements. RSSL guidelines state:
“Cancel, modify, or postpone field trips, assemblies, athletic events, practices, special performances, school-wide parent meetings and other large gatherings to meet requirements for physical distancing.” Required, Page 39
Q. Can my student take the school bus to get to campus?
A. Busses will have a limited capacity. RSSL guidelines state:
“Face coverings for all students.” Required, Page 44
“Take all possible actions to maximize ventilation: Dress warmly, keep vents and windows open to the greatest extent possible.” Required, Page 44
“Provide at least three feet of physical distance between passengers. Potential exposures on a bus are significantly reduced by three feet of distance, in combination with face coverings, and open windows for ventilation.” Recommended, Page 44
Q. What if a child who appears to be sick is on the bus?
A. Bus drivers are required to pick up any student who is waiting to get on the bus. If a student gets on the bus and appears sick or is exhibiting symptoms, they will be asked to sit in a designated place on the bus, close to the front.