Portland Christian Schools

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Superintendent Updates

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