As a pediatrician for Oregon children, I am calling for the immediate reopening of Portland Public Schools. Nearly 45,000 school children are currently without access to education, reliable school meals, social emotional support, physical education, arts programming and their consistent connection to trusted adults. It’s time to put an end to this crisis and get our kids back in the classroom.
The ongoing strike has now entered its third week with 11 school days already canceled. The mental health consequences of this prolonged absence are alarming. Working parents are struggling to find childcare and the uncertainty of when schools will open is causing significant stress and anxiety for both children and their families.
As a healthcare provider, I have seen firsthand the long-lasting mental and behavioral health impacts of school closures in the aftermath of COVID-19. Research has shown that school closures were associated with worse child mental health outcomes, particularly in children from families with lower income. This situation is not just a temporary disruption but has the potential for long-term harm to our children’s well-being.
If you care about the future of Oregon’s children, I urge you to support the immediate reopening of Portland Public Schools. It’s crucial that we prioritize the educational and emotional needs of our students during this challenging time. Let us come together as a community to ensure that our kids have access to the resources they need to thrive.