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Portland family rather finish school year remotely and plan for in-person learning next fall

Portland Public Schools released a timeline for when students will start returning to school for in-person learning.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Parents in Portland now have an idea of what school will look like in the coming months. 

Last week, Portland Public Schools (PPS) released a timeline for when students will start returning to school for in-person learning. But some families don’t want to transition from remote learning just yet.

Joe Dryer is a sixth-grader at Beaumont Middle School in Northeast Portland. For him, distance learning has been great this year. Before the pandemic, the 11-year-old and his fifth-grade teacher didn’t get along. 

His mom, Celeste Dryer, said the stress made it hard to learn.

"Unfortunately, it just caused a lot of stress and anxiety for him. And then that made school really, really hard for him and quite frankly the whole family," Dryer said. 

At first, they were anxious when school moved online because Joe had so many more teachers and was just starting middle school. To their surprise, Joe found his stride with distance learning. 

"The teachers are really nice and you have a lot of freedom on when you want to do your work," said Joe.

At a Portland School Board meeting last week, parents, including Dryer, heard the district's plan for in-person learning. Under the plan, most PPS students will stay remote until spring, then the majority of students are expected to be in some form of hybrid learning. 

It's a move Dryer doesn't want. 

"To go back to a hybrid model for just two months, I think a lot could be lost. He’s on a great roll," said Dryer. "The teachers know how to teach in this way. It’s taken a lot of work to get here. I would hate to change gears." 

For her family, she would rather finish the school year remotely and plan for in-person learning next fall.

PPS said hybrid learning would start with the district’s youngest students. The district does plan to send families a form that will allow them to choose whether they’d like their child to stay with distance learning or go to a hybrid model once it becomes available.

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