PPS Schools To Close A Week Early For Spring Break Due To Coronavirus

By Sam Peterson, Reporter

Portland Public Schools shut down classes early for spring break, capping a whirlwind week of closures and cancellations due to fears of the coronavirus spreading, according to an announcement made the evening of March 12.

Students in the district, including Cleveland, are off from school starting Monday, March 16 until Wednesday, April 1. The decision comes after officials believe that the number of coronavirus cases will grow and that keeping schools operating with large numbers of staff absent is too difficult.

During this time, all school-related events are canceled or postponed. The district will reassess the return date on March 25. Teachers are scheduled to return on March 30 for two days prior to the students returning. The custodial staff will continue to work through the break, prioritizing high-touch surfaces to clean and sanitize.

In a letter to the school community, PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero  wrote, “Extending spring break is a preventative measure to help slow the rate of spread of coronavirus and, as public health agencies explain, flatten the curve of the virus’s impact on our citizens and health care systems. We are also sensitive to the fact that many of our staff are older individuals with whom we share concern for their health and therefore want to limit exposure.”

Officials are working on ways to make sure students who receive food assistance will be able to continue to be fed through the break, and those details will be provided in a letter to the community, Guerrero said.

Cleveland’s social worker, Kate Allen, said the school’s food pantry will be open for low-income students to pick up a bag of food and hygiene supplies to take home. It will be open from 9:30-12 on Friday, March 13. The food pantry is also accepting donations to be used for gift cards. For more information, contact Allen through email at kallen1@pps.net.