Distance learning underway in Oregon

April 13, 2020

State education department rolls out distance learning plan

Distance learning underway in Oregon

Schools across Oregon state begin distance learning today.  This follows instructions from the state department that all districts should have distance learning measures in place by Monday, as schools are likely to remain closed until the end of the school year.

The Oregon Government recently published its Distance Learning For All plan via its website: https://www.oregon.gov/ode/educator-resources/standards/Pages/Distance-Learning-for-All.aspx

This documentation provides guiding principles, a planning toolkit for schools and districts, graduation pathways, communication templates and suggested resources for parents and educators.  The resources and segregated by subject and age.

There are concerns over how these plans will work for students with special needs and learning difficulties.  There are also concerns from parents that lack access to either devices or adequate internet access.

To address this digital divide, many districts have been busy distributing thousands of devices to students.  Such is the demand, there have been reports of parents queuing for up to 3 hours at Portland public schools and long automobile queues.

“ There’s obviously issues for equity for our historically marginalized communities…The obvious issues of computer access, and WiFi, and quiet spaces. ” Suzanne Cohen, President, Portland Association of Teachers

Districts and the state government are also working on measures to help families that lack internet access.  Comcast is offering discounted access at $9.95 per month to low-income families and Xfinity are providing hotspots to anyone for free.  AT&T is also providing internet access for $10 per month.  Finally, Spectrum is offering free hotspots and discounted internet access to qualifying families.  

The recommended daily study time for students is described as follows:

Grade K-1: 45 minutes

Grades 2-3: 60 minutes

Grades 4-5: 90 minutes

Grades 6-12: 30 minutes per teacher

Google Classroom and other Google Apps are recommended by the state government and links to training materials for these products are provided in the distance learning program.