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Portland-area schools prepare for possibility of coronavirus

Many districts are exploring the option of digital-based learning if schools have to be closed.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Lake Oswego School District is having Forest Hills Elementary School deep-cleaned after health officials said a presumptive case of novel coronavirus or COVID-19 was detected in an employee.

Lake Oswego School District hired an industrial cleaning crew from Servpro to clean the school Monday. Superintendent Dr. Lora de la Cruz said the cleaning should be finished by Tuesday morning and school would be back open on Thursday.

She said this past weekend was a busy one for the district.

"Our buses are cleaned. We've disinfected every school building in addition to central office," she said. "We've been building responsible communications that are fact-based and in alignment with CDC and public health officials; recommendations and guidelines."

RELATED: Lake Oswego district monitoring absences after elementary school employee tests positive for coronavirus

KGW reached out to multiple school districts about their plans for if coronavirus comes to their schools.

Beaverton, Portland Public Schools, Hillsboro and Gresham-Barlow all said they were developing or looking into the possibility of a virtual school.

RELATED: Portland Public Schools updates families on coronavirus and discrimination, xenophobia surrounding outbreak

Jesuit High School is in the process of developing a digital-based learning plan and has canceled school on Wednesday to test it out, writing in an email, "We are having a professional development day for our faculty and staff on Wednesday, March 4th to allow them time to prepare even more proactively in the event an extended school closure may be required at some point in the future. This is consistent with the CDC’s and Archdiocese of Portland’s recommendations that schools prepare for the possibility of extended remote learning, with a minimum of disruption to teaching and learning."

A spokesperson for Evergreen School District said in an email, "Evergreen Public Schools is following direction from Clark County Public Health for information about the COVID-19 medical directives, and directing families to its information site. For educational information, we are following the direction given to school districts by the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) 

RELATED: 6 dead, 18 presumptive coronavirus cases in Washington

A spokesperson for the David Douglas School District said online learning was something that was explored. 

"We have discussed this, but it is not something that seems feasible for us to do, so if we closed a school just for cleaning (which would only take a couple days at most), we would likely just make the time up later," a spokesperson said.

Salem-Keizer also said they won't pursue online learning, stating that because of the high quantity of students on free and reduced lunches, it would create  significant educational inequities.

RELATED: 3rd presumptive coronavirus case in Oregon: Worked at Wildhorse Casino, attended youth basketball game

RELATED: Employee presumed to have coronavirus was last at Lake Oswego elementary school on Feb. 19


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