Schools react to governor’s announcement encouraging in person instruction

MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced new guidelines on Wednesday to get more students back into the classroom.

Now, the decision to reopen schools will be decided locally by school districts and schools effective January 1st.

“We appreciate having local control wherever we can,” said Dr. Bret Champion, Medford School District superintendent.

Educators across Oregon are reacting to the latest announcement from Governor Brown on Wednesday.

Her goal is to get students, especially elementary students, back in class by on February 15th.

Governor Brown says the decision to reopen schools will made by individual districts and schools.

“We’ll be talking to lots of folks, getting a lot of input,” said Dr. Champion.

The news, exciting to superintendent Dr. Champion, who says come January they’ll be planning how to best accomplish the governor’s goal.

“There’s actually going to be a reopening task force, then they’ll be a survey and other opportunities for folks to share what they think of our next steps,” said Dr. Champion.

Dr. Champion says there’s still a lot of details to discuss, such as whether there will be a shift in some of the governor’s previous health and safety requirements.

“As it currently works, the requirements from the OHA and ODE require 35 feet of space around each individual kid and there’s no way to get all of our kids with that much space,” he said.

After the special session on Monday, Governor Brown says an additional 50 million was approved to support this transition.

Despite having the ability to reopen, she says it doesn’t mean schools should do so without regard for Covid-19 spread in the community.

Dr. Champion agrees.

“We will continue to provide a high quality education for everything while not doing anything that impedes the health, safety, and wellness of our student, staff, or community. That does not change,” said Dr. Champion.

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