Oregon's School Closure Extended

Oregon Governor Kate Brown says it's too risky to send students back into school buildings, so students will be taught remotely the rest of this year.

Brown directed school districts, community colleges, and universities to complete the final weeks of the regular academic year by continuing distance learning and support to students.

“We have Oregon’s students at the forefront of every decision we make about education,” said Governor Brown. “Their health, happiness, and safety is our priority. The best thing we can do for the health of our children, and for the thousands of educators across the state, is to give everyone certainty by announcing the decision today to close in-person classes for the remainder of the school year. School, and learning, will continue as best as we can using remote means.”

Recognizing that physical closures of schools under unprecedented circumstances impact Oregon’s high school seniors in particular, the Oregon Department of Education released new guidance for pathways for seniors to graduate.

“COVID-19 won’t knock Oregon’s students off their path to graduation.” Oregon Education Department Director Colt Gill said, “This guidance assures our students’ hard earned futures even during this global challenge.”

Oregon’s Graduation Pathways 2020 is the result of collaboration with educators, administrators, culturally specific community-based organizations, and the education community. This guidance recognizes that this closure is impacting less than 2 percent of our seniors’ time spent learning from kindergarten to grade 12. It is important that we honor the dedication and accomplishments of the class of 2020.

Key components of the guidance:

• Maintains Oregon’s rigorous credit requirements while providing a clear path to graduation for seniors who were on-track to graduate prior to the statewide school closure.

• Ensures that schools focus their resources to first support students who need to complete additional credits to graduate and then prepare all graduates for their next steps in life.

• Suspends Essential Skills and Personalized Learning Requirements.

“The Graduation Pathways 2020 guidance celebrates the nearly 13 years of work and accomplishment by these graduating seniors and empowers students to move on to the next step in their life,” said Oregon PTA President Kriste Dille.

“We have to remember that we have a global pandemic occurring and we must be dedicated to doing what’s right for each student and their families,” said Gresham-Barlow School District Superintendent Dr. A. Katrise Perera. “I believe we, as education leaders, have a moral obligation to keep students' futures whole and their graduation pathways clear. This statewide approach to graduation is our best option.”

“The new guidance gives districts the information we need and puts the right focus on supporting each and every senior and honoring their work over their 13 years of study," said Cascade School District Superintendent Darin Drill.

Oregon’s seven public universities and Oregon Health & Science University issued this statement in response to the guidance.

“The Oregon public universities are committed to ensuring that incoming freshman students who intend to enroll at our institutions are considered fairly in light of the educational interruption they have endured in their final year of high school. No student admitted to our institutions for fall 2020 will have their admission rescinded due to changes in grading policy or the inability to complete their coursework, as long as they graduate high school. Students who apply to our institutions are still subject to a review process that focuses on their ability to succeed in college, but the Oregon public universities recognize that some situations are beyond their control. We look forward to supporting students and high schools through this challenging time, both now and with future high school graduating classes impacted by the pandemic.”

Graduation Pathways 2020 guidance can be found on the ODE website within the Distance Learning for All guidance document, section four.

Source: Oregon Governor's Office and Oregon Department of Education

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