- Review of the metrics to return to in-person instruction to reflect the latest data and best practices learned from other states.
- Ensure that school districts are prepared to effectively implement the Ready Schools, Safe Learners health and safety protocols for in-person instruction, so that students, educators, and staff are returning to safe learning environments.
- Drive down community transmission of COVID-19, so that schools can reopen and stay open, to provide stability and certainty for students, parents, and educators.
“Our schools provide warm and nutritious meals to students who are hungry. They are health centers. They provide for students’ mental health and well-being. And, at the center of it all, are the teachers, nurses, counselors, librarians, and support professionals who, every day, build the personal, individual connections with students that are so crucial to their lifelong success,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
The Healthy Schools Reopening Council also identified equity in comprehensive distance learning as a major concern, particularly for historically-underserved Oregon students who already faced systemic disparities in education. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated those existing disparities, with a disproportionate impact on Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Latino/Latina/Latinx, and Tribal communities, and communities of color.
Added Governor Brown: “Distance learning is exponentially more difficult for parents who can’t stay home, because they work in essential sectors like the service industry, construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. Not every home in every county has reliable access to broadband or learning devices for all children. And, unfortunately, too many students do not have a stable place to call home. These are the kids who need in-person instruction the most. The kids for whom a smile in the classroom or a helping hand in the lunchroom means everything.”
The Healthy Schools Reopening Council is charged with advising the Governor and the Oregon Department of Education as school districts develop and implement their plans for a safe return to school for Oregon’s students under the Ready Schools, Safe Learners K-12 schools reopening process.
In order to ensure all community voices are represented, the council includes state and local officials, public health experts, public members from a diverse range of backgrounds, and members from the education community, including representatives of students, parents, support staff, school administrators, school board members, teachers, counselors, and school nurses.
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