Governor Brown officially closes schools for remainder of school year

Oregon’s public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, according to an announcement by Ore. Gov. Kate Brown earlier today (April 8).

“School, and learning, will continue as best as we can using remote means,” Brown said.

Regarding seniors who were concerned about graduation, Brown stated that, “All of our high school seniors who were on track to graduate prior to the statewide school closure will receive a passing grade for their courses. This allows us to maintain Oregon’s current graduation requirements. I refuse to punish students, many of whom have been in Oregon's schools for over a decade, because they could not attend classes for a little over two months.”

For seniors who did not have passing grades in mid-March, Brown stated that school districts will “focus their efforts by finding creative ways to get these seniors the extra attention they need to get across the finish line. It encourages our schools to develop alternative learning plans for our seniors, and we are already seeing schools deploying creative tactics that are locally driven and reflect the best interest of our kids.”

ODE direct Colt Gill stated that seniors have until August to get their grades up for graduation.

“This year’s seniors… I want them to know I believe in them, their teachers believe in them,” he said.

The move to distance only education has been expected after ODE released instructions for schools to begin shifting from supplemental education to distance learning beginning this week.

For Brown, closing the schools for the rest of the year came down to safety.

“It is first and foremost to protect our kids and our teachers. It is impossible to adhere to social distancing measures in our classrooms and our schools,” she said. “Oregon’s education workforce is typically older and potentially more vulnerable to COVID-19. We need to make sure we’re keeping our students, teachers, principals and school staff safe as well.

Brown repeatedly mentioned the sacrifices that both parents and students have made during the pandemic.

“To all the moms and dads, I can’t imagine what you’re up against,” she said. “Balancing parenting during this very scary crisis. While I know that many of you have lost a job, or are a first responder, or are trying to work from home with your kids there, all the time worrying about education and figuring out homeschooling. This is really hard on parents, too.”

Brown thanked every Oregonian for their sacrifice, adding, “I also know that the measures we put into place are necessary actions right now to save lives.”