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Superintendent Updates

The following message was sent to school families and staff on August 19, 2020

Dear PCS Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff & Students,

As we approach the start of the school year, I want to share with you some updates on the ever changing guidance from the Governor, ODE, OSAA, ELD and the OHA.  Before I share the updates, I first want to remind you of the zoom sessions that were held by the two principals last week.  Both principals shared some valuable information on what fall will look like.  If you were not able to join in on the zoom, or if you have additional questions about your child, please reach out to Troy Wagner, Jr/Sr High School Principal or Sara Hahn, Elementary School Principal.  Their contact information is below and they are both open and eager to help address any concerns or questions you might have.

As I have shared in previous emails, all schools in Oregon were required to complete an Operational Blueprint to address how they are going to deal with COVID in the school setting by August 17th.  Our task force has worked diligently to complete the Blueprint and you can now view it here. This is a living document that will be updated throughout the school year as new guidance is issued.  As you review the document you will see that we are in 100% compliance with sections 1-3.  Note that the county metrics do not yet meet the requirements of section 0. You can view a Dashboard that tracks the metrics for reopening for onsite learning here. Remember, this will not be an overnight call.  We will be watching the case count and positivity rate and as we get close, communicating to you all that we are beginning to prepare for transitioning back to campus.  We also recognize that some of you may choose to continue with our online program once we return to campus and that is fine as well. 

Now for some good news.  As we have spent the summer praying and preparing for the fall, the Lord has provided us with some provisions and allowances to the guidance that I want to share with you all below.  Good news is always fun to share!

Last week, ODE made some allowances for schools to provide limited in-person instruction to small groups of students in cohorts of ten for a maximum of two hours.  Reasons include, but are not limited to, academic support, support live peer-to-peer interaction, provide social and emotional support, build community, etc.  There are metrics that have to be met and maintained for this to happen but currently we meet those metrics.  YES!  This is certainly an answer to prayer!  With that, you can expect an email from each principal later this week on how we will implement that for each grade level/cohort.  This will provide our students with not only live instruction, but limited face to face instruction. 

Late Friday afternoon, the Early Learning Division expanded their guidance to allow emergency childcare providers more leniency around group sizes.  This will provide school age parents (grades K-6) the option of bringing their children to PCS for care, Monday through Friday, during the business hours of 7:30AM to 5:30PM.  We are also able to now expand our part-time offerings to preschool families.  Rates for preschool students can be found here. Rates for full time school age children, who are enrolled at Portland Christian, have been discounted dramatically and we have included lunch free of charge.  Please call (503.256.5455 x324) or email Amanda Drechsler to register for care as well as to get specific rates for your situation. We will be opening up spots to the community at large for K-6 on September 1st so please register ASAP to ensure your spot will be saved.  We will be providing some support with distance learning during the day for those who are enrolled for school age care.  Preschool (ages 2.5 – 5) will operate as normal pre-COVID.   

OSAA, in coordination with the OHA, has released their guidance for K-12 sports this past week as well.  You can find the most recent guidance here. While the seasons have been pushed out, they are allowing for students to engage in training and conditioning.  You can expect an email soon from Kyle Cowan, our Athletic Director, about what you can expect for sports and activities from Portland Christian. 

As always, we appreciate your partnership and dedication to Christian schooling for your children.  This has been quite the summer with ups and downs but together we will prevail.  We appreciate your continued prayers over our school and our nation and we give all the glory to our Father. "Not to us LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness."  Psalm 115:1.  

Blessings,

Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Rhonda.rogers@pcschools.org 

Troy Wagner, M.Ed.
Jr/Sr High School Principal
Troy.wagner@pcschools.org

Sara Hahn, Ph.D.
Elementary Principal
Sara.hahn@pcschools.org

Amanda Drechsler, B.A.
ECE Director
Amanda.drechsler@pcschools.org

Kyle Cowan, M.Ed.
Athletic Director
Kyle.cowan@pcschools.org

 

 

The following message was sent to school families and staff on July 29, 2020

Dear PCS Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff & Students,

Well a lot can change in a day.  I mentioned in my email on Monday that the Governor’s guidance is constantly changing and within 24 hours of that email, major changes were announced at a press conference that no one saw coming.  We had just received an updated version of the guidance for K-12 from the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education on July 22nd. Our Task Force has been working diligently to devise a re-opening plan that not only met, but exceeded the requirements of the published guidance.  Thus, we felt confident in sharing the details of our plan with you on Monday.  At the press conference yesterday, the Governor delivered a devastating blow when she shared that she was drastically changing the guidance by adding new complicated metrics that all schools must now meet to open for on-site instruction.  The metrics that we must now comply with are based on numbers of positive COVID cases in each county.  The case count must remain at a low level for three weeks straight. The metrics can be viewed here.  Currently, cases in Oregon are too high for any school in the state to open up in the fall.  The hope is that cases will begin to drop with the expansion of the mask order and other restrictions, allowing all schools to resume on-site instruction sometime in the fall. 

So what does that mean for Portland Christian?  Many are asking if private schools have to abide by the new orders.  Unfortunately, the Governor was very clear that this order applies to all private schools in Oregon. While we are disappointed because we feel we can provide a safe environment for students in our buildings, we are able to pivot to a comprehensive distance learning platform while this order is in place.  Our hope and prayer is that this will be a temporary pivot and we will be allowed to transition back to on-site learning soon.   

We are still waiting for updated guidance for our preschool program for the fall.  We were able to be open this summer as an Emergency Child Care Facility due to special licensing.  Guidance from the ODE Early Learning Division is expected to be issued on August 14th.  Once that is issued, I will communicate what fall will look like for our youngest learners in addition to what childcare options will be for our for K-6th graders. 

I realize that you still have many questions about what our comprehensive distance learning program will look like in the fall.  While you got a glimpse of that in the spring, I want to assure you that this fall will look quite a bit different.  You can expect an even more interactive, robust learning experience for all our students with more contact time with teachers, increased feedback and communication, routine assessments to monitor academic growth, tutoring, digital chapel, enhanced opportunities for social interaction with peers, and a variety of specialty/elective classes.  More campus specific details will be shared in the days and weeks to come.

I also want to let you know that the board is evaluating the cost of tuition given the changes that we are forced to make to our instructional program.  We are committed to offering a “product” that is not only of excellent quality but also an excellent value.  What an opportunity we have to help our kids see the world from God’s perspective, led by teachers who will ground them in the hope of Jesus - while the public system will be presenting  them with such an opposite, worldly  approach to this whole mess.  We recognize the sacrifices that all of you make to send your children to a Christian school and we know that even though we are able to offer a strong, academically rich, biblically based distance learning program, it does not equal face to face instruction.  I will be sharing an update on Monday about changes to tuition.

This is a challenging time for all of us as we mourn all the things that our children are missing out on. We have an opportunity, however, to fix our eyes on Jesus, lock arms with one another, and work together to provide a positive learning environment for all our children amidst a world that seems anything but positive or predictable.  Our teachers and administrators are committed to working with all our families to provide the best educational experience possible.  We appreciate your commitment to Christian education and we look forward to working with you all. 

In closing remember, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

Blessings,

Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools 

 

 

The following message was sent to school families and staff on July 27, 2020:

Dear PCS Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff & Students,

I pray summer is going well for you all.  As we approach the end of July, I am sending you an update on our fall operation plan (Operational Blueprint).  I know that every news story right now is focused around plans and concerns for schools re-opening in the fall and that elicits a lot of fear and questions about what that might look like for Portland Christian.  The verse 2 Timothy 1:7, has never been more relevant and needed than now.  Our plan is still to open five days a week, face to face, full time and we are working diligently to meet and exceed all the protocols necessary to make that happen.  I am thankful that God has been with us every step of the way and that He can do more than we can ask, hope or even think.   

Our COVID-19 Task Force is making great progress on our Operational Blueprint that is required by the state to re-open schools. The Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance that all schools must complete can be found here.  Planning and preparing has been a bit of a challenge because the guidelines provided by the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education are a moving target and change on a week by week basis.  Despite these challenges, our plan contains the necessary procedures to ensure the safe return to campus, while maintaining academic excellence and the health and safety of all our community.  Portland Christian will follow the law, including all executive orders set forth by the Governor, as well as best practices as defined by the CDC, the Oregon Health Authority, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

The Operational Blueprint for each school in Oregon is due on August 14th with the last revisions to the guidelines set to be released on August 11th.  With that said, we ask for your patience while we work through the numerous changes that continue to evolve daily.  We know that you are anxious to get specifics about schedules, lunch options, electives, recess, after school care, pick up and drop off procedures, just to name a few.  We will be hosting online meetings with each campus mid-August to share our detailed plan with you.  The dates for those meetings and orientations for new families specific to each campus will be shared soon by the campus principals. 

What we know now, is that the Oregon Health Authority has consistently required the following:

  • Stable Cohorts (cohorts = small groups of students who do not mix with other groups)
  • Social Distancing (desks spaced out, no hallway congestion or large gatherings allowed, etc.)
  • Square Footage Requirements for each student (35 sq. feet per student)
  • Entrance Screening (daily logs to include temperatures, key screening questions, etc.)
  • Effective hand washing (upon entrance, before/after eating and going outside for recess, etc.)
  • Environmental Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting
  • Good Air Flow
  • Isolation and Quarantine for sick students or staff
  • Contact Tracing
  • Face Coverings for Staff and most recently students age five and up (masks or face shields are allowed)

Many have asked how Portland Christian can open when most other schools cannot.  The answer is simple.  Portland Christian has a long history of small class sizes with large classrooms, large outdoor facilities and spacious buildings.  Most other schools cannot accommodate the sheer number of students that are enrolled in their buildings.  The guidance is clear that all schools shall provide a minimum of 35 square feet per child in any space where students are present, in addition to a six foot space requirement between desks.  All schools want to ensure the safety of all their students and staff but many are not able to meet the basic requirements to proceed with the Blueprint.  God has richly blessed Portland Christian with buildings to accommodate that requirement.  We also have the flexibility with our lunch programs with one campus already set to eat in classrooms and the other one ready to pivot to a similar program. 

Some of you have inquired about an online option.  Right now our priority is to get school open on campus.  We do, however, recognize that with COVID, there are times when students may be out temporarily due to illness, a compromised health condition or from being quarantined.  We are developing a synchronous learning model where those students who are out of school can still be involved in class simultaneously.  This will allow a seamless educational model with no disruptions.  More details will be shared during the online forums in mid-August.

In regard to updates on sports and extracurricular activities, we are waiting on guidance from OSAA.  They have issued some preliminary guidance that can be found here.  We expect to receive additional guidance the first week of August with more clarification on fall sports and activities.  Regardless of what comes out of the new guidance from OSAA, at the Jr/Sr High School, Portland Christian is developing an activities block as part of the regular schedule where a cohort can engage in intramural competitions or put on a drama or music production.  At the elementary school we are maintaining recesses and all the specialty classes that children enjoy.  Things will look different, but we know how important the social and emotional health of our students are so we are working tirelessly to come up with creative ideas to meet those needs.

Thank you in advance for your continued prayers and support.  Successful implementation of our plan depends on the cooperation and active participation of all our staff, students and families.   Together we can ensure a safe and successful school year.

Blessings,
Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools 

 

 

The following message was sent to school families and staff on July 1, 2020:

Dear PCS Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff & Students,

I pray you are all enjoying your summer so far!  It is hard to believe that it is July already and that we will be back in school in just two short months.  I know many of you have been anxiously waiting to hear what is going to happen with school in the fall and so I want to take this opportunity to provide you with an update as we prepare to safely re-open our campuses in September.  As I shared in my June 15th email, the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority released statewide guidelines for the safe re-opening of schools for the 2020-21 school year.  Our taskforce has been busy preparing our blueprint for re-opening and we are excited to share with you that we are going to be on campus five days a weekface to facefull days for all students K-12! Our ECE program is already open and we anticipate expanding pre-school and childcare offerings in the fall as well.  We will have more details to share with you in early August.

Our re-opening blueprint, in compliance with state guidelines, will focus on three core areas to minimize the risk of spreading the virus:

  • Health and safety protocols: Guidelines determine how we clean and sanitize, how we cohort students for contact tracing, what our entry and exit plans look like, and much more.
  • Social distancing: In order to minimize exposure, we must provide a minimum of 35 sq. ft. of space per person to ensure healthy social distancing between individuals. This works out to an average of 18-20 students per classroom, which is a typical classroom size at Portland Christian Schools.
  • Hygiene: We will focus on healthy hygiene to keep everyone as safe as possible. This includes increased expectations for handwashing and sanitizing on a frequent basis. We will also provide and require face shields/masks for staff.  In addition, while we will not require masks for students, we do strongly recommend that students wear masks at school, especially in grades 6 – 12 (unless there is a health condition or disability that may interfere with a student’s ability to safely wear a mask).

As you may already know, many public schools and some private schools have begun to share their plans for the fall.  Most have shared that they are not able to meet the guidelines set forth by the state, are experiencing substantial budget cuts, and therefore are planning to only be in class two to three days a week.  We know that this plan is not what is best for children and it will not work for our Portland Christian community.  We have been blessed with two large campuses with spacious classrooms and we do not rely on tax dollars to sustain our school.  We have prioritized and maintained small class sizes pre-COVID and we will continue to maintain that standard during and after COVID. 

We have already seen many public school families reaching out to us to enroll their children at Portland Christian and we anticipate that there will be more.  If you have friends in public school who desire a Christian education, I recommend that you urge them to find out what their district's plan looks like, and if it does not meet their needs, encourage them to check out PCS while there is still room to enroll.  Space will be limited to maintain our long standing small class size policy and to ensure that we comply with social distancing requirements.  We expect to have waitlists for many grade levels. 

There are still some unknowns around what fall sports will look like.  We are waiting to receive guidance from the state and OSAA.  Once we receive that guidance, we will share it with you. 

In closing, please join me in praying for our children -- not just our PCS children, but all children who have been impacted by COVID in our community and around the world.  We are so fortunate to be in a school where we can share God’s promises and hope with our children, even while facing challenges.  These are hard, unprecedented times, but we know that our Lord is in control and that we will persevere.  We also know that in the midst this crisis, there have been many blessings -- I remind myself daily to thank the Lord for those blessings. 

Blessings,

Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools 

P.S.  These verses get me through many of these COVID days - maybe they’ll help you too: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

 

 

The following message was sent to school families and staff on June 15, 2020:

Dear PCS Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff & Students,

The 2019-20 school year has come to a close. It has been a challenging time for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of our school buildings. We recognize the strain this pandemic has put on everyone in our community and we appreciate the patience and understanding you have shown during this incredible time.  We also want to thank you for partnering with us in this endeavor as we quickly pivoted to provide our students with an excellent distance learning program. We could not have done it without you!

Many of you have inquired about what the fall with look like at Portland Christian Schools.  Rest assured, we have been working on a plan for the 2020-21 school year. We are bringing together administrators, board members, educators, parents, students, and experts in the medical field to determine the safest and most effective way to serve you. Last week the Oregon Department of Education released its guidance for next school year: Ready Schools, Safe Learners.  We are optimistic that we will be able to meet and exceed all the requirements set forth by the Governor and the Oregon Department of Education to ensure that we will be back in the building this fall five days a week with full day classes.  The Lord has blessed us abundantly with large buildings and spacious classrooms so the square footage requirements that many public schools and other private schools are struggling with are not an issue for PCS.  Our small class sizes, that we have all become accustomed to, will allow our students plenty of space to stay safe and learn face to face.

On another exciting note, we have begun the re-opening process already by opening up our preschool and K-6 summer programs.  We are hoping to start offering sport camps as well later this summer.  Things are beginning to get back to (a “new”) normal and we are thankful for that. 

Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this historic school year. We truly appreciate all you do and your continued support of our students and our school.  As we solidify our plan for the fall, we will share with you the details of the plan.  The safety and security of all our students and staff remain our top priority.   

Please join me in prayer as we seek God’s direction, protection, and His best for our staff, students, and families during this incredible time in history. God is faithful and is our strength in times of trouble.  May the promise of our Lord give you peace and understanding; “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

Blessings,
Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent

 

 

The following message was sent to school families and staff on May 27, 2020:

Dear PCS Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff, & Students,  

Thank you to those who were able to join us for our Annual Society Meeting last week.  As part of the presentation, I shared some of the survey results we received about our distance learning program. Thank you for all who participated in the survey. I am so grateful for the time you took to give us your honest feedback and for the words of encouragement that you shared.  The administrative team has reviewed all your suggestions and comments and have shared them with their departments. 

A summary of the survey results is attached.

Thank you again for your participation.  We value your partnership and feedback as we strive to provide your children with a quality distance learning program.  I know that no one would have would have ever envisioned that our last quarter of school would look like this but I am pleased with what we have accomplished together.  As we near the end of the school year I want to encourage us all to finish strong.  It is times like this that draw us closer together and define who we are.  I know that we are all tired and are beyond ready to get back to normal.  While many around us have quit or given up, PC teachers, students and families have steadied the course and have worked hard to make the best out of a terrible situation.  It is a great time to be a Royal and I am proud to be on this journey together with you all.  This too, shall pass.

We are reminded in Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

Blessings,
Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools

SurveySummary1

SurveySummary2

SurveySummary3

SurveySummary4

 

The following message was sent to school families and staff on April 10, 2020:

Dear PCS Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff, & Students,

Mercy, peace and love to you all.  May the grace of our Lord surround you on this Good Friday.

In response to the continuing COVID-19 health crisis in our state,  Governor Brown and the Oregon Department of Education announced that our campus doors will not open again for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. We all miss seeing our students in school buildings, but the health and safety of our students, educators, staff and the broader community, remain the highest priority. 

Portland Christian will continue to deliver meaningful experiences for our K-12 students for the duration of our academic year through Distance Learning. Your student’s teachers have been working hard to connect with you and your student to provide a quality, online educational program to ensure that we maintain the academic rigor and excellence that we all expect.  If you are experiencing challenges receiving communication from your teachers, your principals are ready to help solve those challenges.

For our youngest learners, our preschool and childcare center will remain closed until the end of the school year.  Our hope is that we will be able to open for our summer program as restrictions are lifted.   More details will follow as we learn more from the state. 

This extended closure also means the loss of traditional celebrations and ceremonies that students may have been looking forward to, such as Grandparent’s Day, Serve Day, sporting events, field trips, performances, proms, graduations, and award ceremonies. Our hearts are with every student in realizing these losses. Please know that we are actively looking for ways to honor our students, specifically our graduates, while still maintaining social distancing guidelines and closures. We will be engaging with graduates and their families soon to gather feedback and ideas on how this milestone might be accomplished, and how we can support this special celebration in a new and unique way.

We know many of our families are experiencing challenges and hardships during this unprecedented time. Every day seems to bring a new normal and those changes can be stressful and difficult for all. Please know that we care deeply about the well-being of each and every student and their family.  Our prayer groups remain active and continue to meet weekly via Zoom and our faculty and staff pray for you all daily.

This global pandemic is something we have never experienced before, but we will persevere. With God and with each other, we are getting through this time, and we are going to come out of it stronger than ever. Thank you for your continued words of encouragement and support.  We look forward to the day we have the honor of welcoming you back through the doors of our school.

I find strength in this verse, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12

God Bless, 

Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools

 

 

The following message was sent to school families and staff on April 6, 2020:

Dear PCS Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff, & Students,  

A little more than two weeks ago, we closed our campuses as a precaution related to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Although this has caused disruption to all our daily lives, it has been necessary in order to help flatten the curve of the virus’s spread. To ensure continuity of learning during the closure, PCS has shifted remarkably fast into a distance learning mode.

In a short amount of time, the faculty began to implement classroom instruction via Zoom, Google classroom, prerecorded video lessons, and directed learning activities. Each day links to educational resources have been added to deepen and extend learning. It was clunky for some, at first, but we are gaining momentum every day! I couldn’t be more proud of our teachers. They have adjusted with remarkable speed and agility, and are serving the students well in this new format! The success stories are numerous and parent feedback has been overwhelmingly positive!  Thank you, parents, for your support and “kudos” to our students for engaging with the learning in a responsible (and admirable) way.

While we all try to adjust to our new temporary normal, it is important that we remember that as a community we are heading into one of the most important seasons in the Christian calendar.  Resurrection Day is a time of regeneration, renewal, and hope. 

In the resurrection, Jesus Christ has overcome death—by not only conquering the power that brought it about, but by reversing all those things in our lives that take us captive and make us feel despondent. Sadness and fear need no longer destroy people. In Christ, every negative situation can be turned into something creative and positive. It is a message of profound hope. 

While fear and sadness dominate many people’s lives today, there is still a power that can liberate. Our message of freedom for the world begins as we share the experience of the women who found the tomb empty on Resurrection Sunday.  Let us acknowledge this joy and share it with one another and with the world!

It is a message that God cares for all people, especially you. It is also a reality with other implications for each of us. At a time when more and more people in our affluent nation are experiencing fear, illness, financial hardship, and separation from loved ones, we are reminded that the power of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ, is able to change lives if we let him. 

Jesus Christ is a living presence who is with us each day as we live out his love and compassion.  My prayer is that we all truly grasp the full meaning of Resurrection Day and that everyone takes time to reflect upon this day and its meaning for all of us.

Let’s not let distance dull our sense of community, nor diminish our shared value of helping our children flourish, academically, physically, and spiritually. 

I’ll close with this Bible verse. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

God Bless,

Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools

 

 

The following message was sent to school families and staff on March 18, 2020:

Dear Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff and Students, 

Yesterday afternoon, Governor Kate Brown, as part of an Executive Order in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus situation in our state, announced an extension of Oregon’s statewide school closure. This includes the announcement that: 

All Oregon schools will be closed through April 28. Per this executive order, students would return to schools on Wednesday, April 29.

As schools like ours take action to slow the spread of COVID-19 and states and governments mandate business and school closures across the country, our students, families and employees are among the most gravely impacted.  We are mindful that these actions put the economic well-being of people and communities at risk and this poses a challenge for all.  We will continue to stay focused on developing a long-term plan for supporting all our families and students while our school is closed. Please know that we are doing everything in our power to find and offer resources for our families and staff.   

What we do know right now:

  • Distance learning will continue this week as previously communicated
  • Spring Break will continue as scheduled, March 23rd – March 27th
  • Our facilities will remain closed to students and staff during the extended closure
  • Preschool and Extended Care will remain closed through April 28th. Another email addressing this closure will be sent to preschool families later today.
  • Scholarship deadlines are extended until May 1st
  • Events that were scheduled in April have been canceled. We will do our best to reschedule what we can once we return
  • Spring sport seasons are under review and a decision by OSAA will be announced later today
  • 3rd – 8th grade baseball has been canceled
  • Our custodians will be closing off rooms when disinfected to ensure they remain clean and ready for use when students and staff return

We also encourage everyone in our community to continue following recommended practices including social distancing (which means limiting playdates and other indoor get-togethers), washing hands frequently, and covering mouths when coughing or sneezing. Those experiencing symptoms of the cold or flu should stay at home until symptom-free for 72 hours. If you are concerned about symptoms, please consult with a doctor.

As educators, our goal is to always maximize instructional time and minimize disruptions to learning. Clearly, this crisis is requiring us to operate differently. We are compiling resources on our website so you can quickly access information about COVID-19.

We appreciate your understanding during this changing situation.  We want to express how much we appreciate your trust in allowing us to partner with you to educate your child. We are so grateful for your loyalty.  Our school has been tested before, and our spirit – while dampened during these difficult days – is strong.  Although the experiences of our past have been radically different from those of today, one consistent lesson threads through them all:  our faith in Christ remains strong and we must care for and have faith in one another.  We will emerge stronger together.

We know you all have a lot of questions and we are doing our very best to maneuver this uncharted territory.  Thank you for your continued support and prayers.  We will be in touch with more information as soon as we have a plan to navigate this extended closure. Please do what you can to help prevent the spread of this virus.

Sincerely,

Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools

 

 
 
The following message was sent to school families and staff on March 13, 2020:

Dear Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff & Students, 

I would like to thank our PCS community of families, educators, and support staff for the concern and care you have shown during the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  As a school, we remain committed to providing safe and healthy spaces for our students, families, and staff, who are always at the heart of any decision made by the board and school leadership.

Since COVID-19 first emerged in Oregon, we have followed the guidance of our public health agency partners, including Multnomah County and the Oregon Health Authority, making preventative changes to our school and programs. As this situation continues to evolve, public health experts now believe the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Portland and Oregon will grow.  Given this information, we believe it is time for us to act more urgently and more aggressively.

After careful consideration as a board and administrative team, consultation with state agencies and other private school leaders, and in response to Governor Brown’s mandate to close schools statewide through the end of March, Portland Christian Schools will take the following actions:

  • Beginning Monday, March 16, PCS will extend spring break for all students, preschool - 12th grade, through March 31. The current plan is for classes and programs to resume on April 1.
  • Cancel the ECE/Elementary Spring Break program
  • Cancel ECE and all extended care programs
  • Cancel ALL school activities, including athletic events and practices
  • Staff will be expected to return on Monday, March 30

Starting Monday, March 16, and until we re-open schools on April 1, our campuses will be closed to students and families. Education staff and school administrators are also expected to stay out of our buildings until March 30. Custodial staff will continue to clean schools during the extended break, prioritizing high-touch surfaces in classrooms and common areas. 

We know that extending spring break will cause difficulties for many families.  Because of this, we do not take this decision lightly. We have to be responsible not only as educators and caretakers but as members of the larger community in which we live and work. 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 on our staff and in our community are older individuals with whom we share a concern for their health and therefore want to limit exposure.

We know this is a major announcement that in many ways is without precedent. Given the seriousness of the current situation, we firmly believe that this decision is the best one we can make given all available information and keeping the best interests of our students, staff, and community at the center.

We will continue to monitor this very dynamic public health situation and will plan to provide an update during the course of this extended break. We understand that you may still have many questions.  By Monday, you will receive communication from the Principals regarding educational support plans for students. Thank you for your prayers, support, and cooperation during this time.

Despite these difficult times, the scripture I shared yesterday still remains true - we live “not in a spirit of fear, but in power, and love, and a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7).

Sincerely,  

Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools

 
 
 
The following message was sent to school families and staff on March 12, 2020:

Dear Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff & Students, 

The PCS Administration, including the Board, is actively participating in planning and following directives received from state and local officials regarding COVID-19.  We remain in close contact with public health authorities as this situation changes rapidly.  Based on our commitment to our students’ health and safety, and in light of the new public health measures announced by Governor Brown as the state works to slow the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), Portland Christian is taking the actions listed below regarding non-essential school activities. The actions by PCS  are not related to a presumptive case. At this time, there are no presumptive cases at Portland Christian Schools. 

  • All school-based assemblies, chapels, off-campus field trips, and events are canceled, effective immediately. This includes:
    • Jr High Band Festival scheduled for today
    • ECE/Elementary Art Showcase scheduled for this evening from 6:00 - 8:00 pm
    • Jr/Sr High School March Madness assemblies scheduled for next week
    • 5th grade OMSI field trip scheduled for next week
    • ECE/Elementary Spring Break Field Trips are canceled. At this time, the extended care program itself is scheduled to continue.
  • Athletics - we are following new state guidance denying audience admission at all school-based events, with the exception of essential personnel. See OSAA for further information.
  • The PCS Royal Auction & Gala scheduled for this Saturday, March 14, is being postponed. We will communicate with you regarding further details as soon as possible.
  • Decisions regarding the status of future events, scheduled after April 8th, such as: ECE/Elementary Grandparents’/VIP Day, Jr/Sr High School Serve Day, Jr/Sr High School Parent/Teacher Conferences, will be communicated to you as soon as possible.

Classes, childcare, and sports and drama practices will continue on their regular schedules. Elementary before and after-school programs, including Chess, Mad Science, Lego, Folk Dance, and Peer Ministry, will continue as scheduled. Should changes to these programs occur, we will let you know as soon as possible. Our campuses remain open and we are taking every step possible to continue to provide high-quality education for all of our students.

We understand that this impacts every student, teacher, staff member, family, and beyond.  Many of the affected activities have been carefully planned and highly anticipated by many in our community. Please realize that we do not make this decision lightly. Suspending and/or canceling these events is consistent with guidance and mandates from health authorities and government officials, and we believe it is a prudent and responsible step to take at this time. We will continue to work in close partnership with public health authorities to minimize both the spread of coronavirus and disruption to school and students. We will continue emphasizing the importance of handwashing at school and will continue to prioritize cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces on our campuses.

Students, families, and everyone in our community can best support our efforts by washing hands frequently, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing, and using hand sanitizer. Those experiencing symptoms of a cold or the flu should stay at home, only returning to school or work when symptom-free for 24 hours. If you are concerned about symptoms, please consult with a doctor.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this difficult time. We will continue to rely on the guidance from Oregon public health authorities, the Department of Education, and the Office of the Governor.

We expect new directives and will continue to send you updates as circumstances require. In the meantime, we continue to live “not in a spirit of fear, but in power, and love, and a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7).

Sincerely,  

Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools

 
 
 
The following message was sent to school families and staff on March 2, 2020: 
 
Dear Parents and Guardians, Faculty, Staff & Students, 

I know you are all aware of the recent announcements regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Several of you have expressed concern or asked questions about various issues, so I want to provide you with an update on our preparations. Our intention is to inform you about where things stand in terms of our preparations and planning.

While there are no known cases at Portland Christian Schools or in Multnomah County, officials with local, state and federal public health agencies have made it clear that they anticipate the virus will continue to spread. Portland Christian Schools has been doing a number of things to prepare:

  • Administrators and representatives from each campus have been meeting to address both short- and long-term issues and planning.
  • Portland Christian already has in place sanitation procedures to prevent illness. We are stepping up our cleaning and sanitization procedures in classrooms, offices, and dining areas to mitigate the potential spread of illnesses.
  • Our existing plans for isolating students in the event of illness have been reviewed and expanded to include the potential for larger numbers to be impacted.
  • We have begun expanding plans—including procurement of additional food and other resources—in the event that either campus is forced to become quarantined/isolated for a period of time. This includes exploring how to ensure adequate staff is available to support our students.
  • We are making plans for our International Students who may not be able to return home once school is out in June.  International students will not be traveling home on Spring Break.  One of our international students went home over Lunar New Year in January and has not yet returned.
  • We have been, and continue to be, in touch with our international agencies/programs as well as students who are planning to attend our International Summer Program at Portland Christian. We are prepared to coordinate any changes that need to be made regarding their program of study. We are addressing these situations on a case-by-case basis, depending on the specific details, such as the country/city, start dates, availability of alternative course delivery methods, etc.
  • We are reviewing plans for larger, upcoming campus-wide events—including the Student Showcase, Spring Musical, trip to Japan, and Commencement—so that we can make adjustments as needed. For the time being, we do not anticipate changes to currently scheduled events. We will provide updates on events as needed, but we encourage anyone planning to attend a school event to stay home if they are not feeling well to avoid the risk of spreading illness.
  • As part of our planning process, the school has been exploring options for continuing to deliver courses to the extent possible in the event of a widespread outbreak in the U.S., including how we might provide schoolwork/assignments in another format.

 Personal preventive measures

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.  Please see the Communicable Disease section in the PCS Parent-Student Handbooks for guidance. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Get your annual flu vaccine (to protect against flu).

Leave from School or Work
In conjunction with recommendations from the CDC, Portland Christian Schools strongly encourages faculty, staff or students who are not feeling well to stay home until you are free from fever or other symptoms of acute respiratory illness. Health officials have recommended that if you suspect you might be infected with the COVID-19 virus, you should call your healthcare provider’s office or the emergency room before going to seek treatment to ensure that appropriate procedures can be followed to minimize any risk of the spread of potential infection.

  • Faculty and staff should contact their supervisors (as appropriate) to discuss any specific issues related to sick leave or family leave.
  • Parents with sick children should call or email the campus where their child is attending.

Domestic and International Travel
For families who are planning to travel internationally for personal reasons—including travel over spring break—we strongly encourage you to review the latest travel-related notices from the CDC and U.S. Department of State to make sure you will be able to get into and out of the countries you plan to visit. This information is being updated constantly. Because of that, we ask that you keep in mind that any international travel carries a risk that you might be quarantined or prevented from returning to the U.S. If possible, the safest option is to postpone your trip until the outbreak diminishes. If that is not possible, we encourage you to explore travel-related insurance options to ensure you are able to obtain medical treatment and/or be evacuated in the event of an emergency.

The Oregon Health Authority website includes additional information related to leave from work or school, domestic and international travel, and spring break. We encourage all members of our community to review this site for updated information in the coming weeks.

We will continue to provide updates via email as necessary.  Should you have any questions you can reach me via email or by phone at (503) 256-3960 ext. 209.

Sincerely,   

Rhonda Rogers, M.Ed.
Superintendent
Portland Christian Schools

We encourage you to remain abreast of current developments by following these public health agency websites: 

 Multnomah County Health Department

Oregon Health Authority (OHA)  

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Communicable Disease Guidance (pdf)

OHA/ODE Information Sheet for Families 

P.S. See the CDC fact sheet below - know the facts and help stop the spread of rumors! 
 
C.D.C. COVID-19 fact sheet