Contradictory New Metrics for Schools Reopening:

When Will We Return to School?


The Gresham-Barlow School District COVID-19 Dashboard as of December 7th. None of the metrics for return to in-person school, even a hybrid model, have been met. You can find this on the gbsd website at

Simon Scannell, Editor-in-Chief

The constant uncertainty with the COVID pandemic, has caused many to be unsure about the future and one question we’ve all been asking ourselves and each other: when will we return to in-person school? And when we do, what will it look like?

Many students are eager to hear the answer. But so much is up in the air right now- and has been for months. Currently school is solely online due to Multnomah County being in the “extreme risk” zone for COVID. 

According to principal Drake Shelton, the earliest students will go back in-person for a hybrid model is February 1st. 

“We have sort of a plan. Like I said, there’s a lot of nuances that go to it so I don’t want to sit here and give a false statement,” Shelton said. The hope is… a possible return to school on the first of February.” 

Starting a hybrid model in February would be a more seamless transition because of the start of the new quad, Shelton said. But ultimately schools must follow the guidelines from the Oregon Department of Education.

ODE sends the metrics to school districts around the state and the district plans from there. This includes walk-throughs at each school where officials will determine how students will move through the building.

“There’s a lot of configuration that goes into it and then we come out with a plan,” Shelton said. “We have to make sure that we can trace every step by a student in case there’s an outbreak and we need to go back to the contact tracing.”

As of December 7th, no official plan has been released to students and their families for what the return to in-person school will look like. It is expected that it will be a hybrid model rather than entirely in-person because of the metrics for Oregon. (You can click here to see these on the GBSD website). The hybrid model will allow students and families who feel uncomfortable or simply wish not to return to in-person school the ability to do so. 

“I don’t want to go back until trusted healthcare professionals are 100% sure that it’s safe for all of us,” senior Olivia Merg said. “My father works as a nurse at Portland Providence and he firmly believes that it is unsafe for anyone to go back to school, especially now that COVID is soaring, anytime in the near future.”

For senior Tristan Flores, that’s not the only thing on his mind.

“For me to feel safe to go back to school I would have to see a widespread shift in public perception of the virus into taking it a little bit more seriously,” Flores said. 

When in-person school resumes there may be health guidelines that will need to be followed. Some students want to ensure that these are being followed strictly and with no exceptions. 

“I hope that they try to go the safest route. Social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing,” freshman Nathaniel Scannell said.

The best way to ensure that school can go back in-person is to do your part. Wear a mask and socially distance yourself from others.