In a statement released by the Oregon Government, Governor Kate Brown announced that all schools in the state will close for two weeks amid COVID-19 concerns.
“I have heard from superintendents, school board members, teachers, parents, and students that it has now become impossible to functionally operate schools due to workforce issues and student absences,” said Brown. “Schools are experiencing critical shortages in staff, and superintendents are concerned for school personnel who are at elevated risk such as those over age 60 and those with underlying medical issues.”
Brown continued, “I want to be very clear: sending Oregon children home will not stop the spread of the coronavirus. This is a trying time for our community and I am reluctant to increase the burden on families who are already struggling to adapt to and stay healthy during this crisis.”
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The government directive is as follows:
- School districts are directed to develop plans for returning to school that accommodate ongoing impacts of coronavirus. Staff should utilize the final two days of March to finalize plans for operating schools under updated measures, with students expected to return on Wednesday, April 1.
- Districts are tasked with developing plans to continue nutrition services during the closure.
- The Oregon Department of Education will examine the impact the closure will have on instructional time.
- School districts will ensure adequate cleaning supplies for increased cleaning protocols following the closure.
- The Early Learning Division will support child care programs and will work to identify resources to support child care needs for our most vulnerable families, as well as health care professionals and first responders.
The return date is set to March 31. However, Brown indicated that the status of the return is subject to change. “Due to the evolving nature of this crisis, these timelines will be reevaluated in late March in consultation with school administrators.”
The announcement comes just a few days after Oregon declared a state of emergency, and a mere 24 hours after the City of Portland followed suit.
More to come…