Are we really going back to school?


Dr. Katrise Perera

Governor Brown and state representatives meet through Zoom to discuss options of returning to school.

Kaelin Collar, Editor-in-Chief

Recently, a lot of questions have arisen regarding the remainder of this current school year based upon the Governor’s announcement allowing school’s to make their own decision about whether we should return to in-person school or not. As the Gresham-Barlow community is an intertwined community with the best interest at heart for it’s staff, students, administrators, and parents, the district is taking a lot into consideration before finalizing a plan.

“I spend a lot of my time in meetings or managing issues that come up with Distance Learning. I am working on a team that has to get the schools to be ready to be reopened. Those decisions are dependent upon the county metrics, the guidance from the Oregon Department or Education, and the decision by the school board,” says Kelly Hart.

Withholding a responsibility of supervising staff, the math, social studies and counseling departments, organizing annual graduations, overseeing AVID, working with struggling students to get back on a positive pathway, and numerous other duties is one of our lovely assistant principals, Kelly Hart. Believing students are currently in one of their most important phases of their lives, one of Hart’s favorite parts of her jobs is spending time with her students and encouraging them to work towards the fullest of their potential.

“The options that families have goes forward is comprehensive distance learning where every student has a device that is being taught online and one on one- asynchronous and synchronous, another option which would be our next phase in would be the limited in person which is where we’d bring in students with ‘special populations’ students with special needs that aren’t getting the type of learning they need to continue to be successful and grow in their lives.” She continues emphasizing, “newcomers who are new to the US which we have a program for that, or students who are lacking academically that are a concern from teachers the third option is the hybrid where kids are identified in cohorts and the school day would only be 2 hours, 2 days a week physically in the school building which is the most challenging based on students different schedules,” Dr. Katrise Perera.

Beginning in education in 1994, Dr. Perera has worked her way up to become a superintendent after previously being a substitute teacher, teacher, a part of Corporate America, and a voice on school boards. Throughout a year of unknowns Dr. Perera has been given the opportunity to serve on different committees including the Oregon School Athletic Association, equity alongside Governor Brown, and decision regarding the reopening of educational establishments. Though the options of returning to school include hybrid, those who desperately need the in-person, and or an entirety of distance learning, Dr. Perera ensures the board is following up with the state’s metrics and ODE to create a safe environment for all.  

“It’s really a locality thing regarding a return within sports because with what athletes do academically and physically, and depending on a school’s population it’s logistically challenging for us. Right now we have after school conditioning and we have shorter seasons planned so hopefully we should have something announced mid to end February, however, full contact sports are seemingly not able to be offered because they’re not permissible,” Dr. Perera.

Currently, the decision is still being decided based upon the state’s metrics, regulations, and safety precautions which will hopefully be determined before the last quarter. However, we can still make the best of at least having some freedom in returning back to school and having sports seasons!