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Portland Public Schools to move board meetings online in November for safety reasons

The school district also cited a desire to comply with Oregon's indoor face mask mandate.
Credit: KGW News
Dozens came to attend a Portland Public Schools board meeting on Oct. 26 to discuss a proposed student vaccine mandate. The meeting was suspended in-person over mask noncompliance.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Public Schools (PPS) announced Friday it will move its school board meetings online for the month of November because of safety concerns and to comply with the state's indoor face mask mandates.

On Tuesday night, PPS leaders temporarily suspended a board meeting to discuss a possible student COVID-19 vaccine mandate and then moved it online after several people refused to wear masks. In a statement released the next day, PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said students and staff at Tuesday's meeting were also "confronted with offensive racist language."

In a letter sent to PPS students and their families on Friday, Kara Bradsaw, executive assistant for the Board of Education, wrote that "in order to keep our community, students, and staff safe at Board meetings and to ensure compliance with the state indoor masking mandates, the School Board will meet virtually through the month of November."

PPS Chief of Staff Jonathan Garcia confirmed the decision in a statement to KGW.

“The events that unfolded during the Oct. 26 Board meeting deeply affected Board members, staff, students and community members who had hoped for a productive discussion about a possible vaccine requirement at PPS," he said.

RELATED: 'It was only a matter of time': Portland Public Schools board chair on suspending in-person meeting, resuming discussions virtually

During the virtual board meetings, members of the public will be allowed to give public commentary. People who attend the meeting virtually will have their camera and microphone disabled upon entering the meeting. If a person wishes to make a comment during the time allotted for public commentary, the moderator will bring the person into the meeting as a panelist, and they'll be allowed to unmute and speak for three minutes. After the three minutes are up, the person's microphone and camera will be disabled.

For more information on PPS board meeting protocol regarding providing public commentary, click here.

The board of education meets twice a month, usually on Tuesday.

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