Two Portland Metro Schools Are Now Back Online

We spoke to your fellow staff and students to get their opinions


Clarion photo Danny Danh

A Typical Passing Period Which Can Be Hard To Distance

Two large schools went into quarantine in the Portland metro area and are now back to distance learning, John Wetten Elementary and Reynolds high school. Reynolds now has 2,600 kids in quarantine after a major outbreak at the school and the same goes to John Wetten Elementary with 600 kids. John Wetten went back online after a staff member at the school who was vaccinated tested positive for COVID-19. As of Sept. 22),Cleveland has four students who are quarantined due to off site exposure. In total, PPS has more than 100 students and staff quarantined as of Sept. 22, according to the PPS COVID-19 Dashboard.

Despite what happened at Wetten and Reynolds, JoAnn Wadkins, Cleveland principal, thought Cleveland was doing well. She said, “I was actually talking to the school nurse Amy Fowler about this yesterday and we’re doing quite well. Students are doing what they are supposed to do, which is staying home when they’re sick, informing the school that there is a positive COVID-19 test result. We perform the close contact tracing and our teachers and our students are maintaining their distance in the classrooms. So I’m really happy with that.”

When asked if Cleveland staff would be prepared and ready to go online if an outbreak happened she said, “Since our teachers prepared so many of their lessons for CDL, I think we would be able to make that transition. Certainly, I think it would involve preparation time for teachers to make sure they do have all their classes in order for us to start.”

According to Wadkins, another exciting thing is about to occur at PPS schools: “Next week, we will be getting an email from me about screening testing so students will be able to, on a regular basis, pick up a COVID-19 test here from the school, take the test, drop it off and get the results. So we would be able to have that information about students and you would have the information and actually the screening would be starting at the younger grades first, because those students are not at an age where they can get vaccinated.”

“So the message I really want to get across is: Let’s all follow these measures and remember that we wear our masks, we are being distant and if you qualify for vaccinations, then get vaccinated, and consider opting into COVID-19 screening testing, and so in that way we can continue school,” Wadkins said.

When asked what should happen if an outbreak were to occur Oliva Carlson, a sophomore at Cleveland said, “Complete quarantine if a mass outbreak were to occur and to have an increase in sanitary precautions from then on.”
Carlson also stated that she thought it was probable that an outbreak would occur in the near future. When asked her opinions if students are ready to go back online she said, “I don’t think we are ready to go back online or want to in that case, but we are obligated to ensure the safety of our students and staff to handle the coronavirus outbreak.”

When we asked Olivia if she would come back after an outbreak she quickly replied, “No I wouldn’t. I would need to see a drastic change in policies before thinking about re-entering the building.”

Said Wadkins, “Keep the masks on, keep separated, wash your hands. Let’s all be vigilant. If we are all vigilant, then we can get on the other side of this.”