As a pediatrician based in Oregon, I am calling for the immediate reopening of Portland Public Schools. Currently, over 45,000 students are without access to education, reliable meals, emotional support, physical activity and arts programming. It is no longer acceptable to stand by and watch these children suffer.
The ongoing strike has already resulted in 11 school days canceled, and it’s clear that the mental health effects on students are becoming increasingly serious. Working parents are also feeling the impact as they struggle to find a safe learning environment for their children. The uncertainty surrounding 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-term mental and behavioral health impacts of school closures following COVID-19. Studies have shown that school closures were linked to poorer child mental health outcomes, particularly among low-income families. This situation goes beyond a short-term disruption – it has the potential to cause long-lasting harm to our children’s well-being.
If we care about the future of Oregon’s children, we must act now and advocate for the immediate reopening of Portland Public Schools. We need to prioritize our students’ educational and emotional needs during this challenging time. Let us not allow this crisis to become an opportunity for neglecting our children’s well-being any further.