Education

Brown says schools can open if they wish

MEDFORD, Ore. – In a major policy shift, Gov. Kate Brown this afternoon told school distrcts that students could return to in-person instruction based on their own judgment.

Brown said her school metrics, which had been mandatory, will only be “advisory” in nature beginning Jan. 1.

“This does not mean schools can resume in-person instruction without regard for COVID-19 spread in the community,” Brown said, “but instead should carefully consider the metrics in their local context, the needs of students and families, and readiness to implement health and safety protocols.”

The Oregon Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, called Brown’s decision “abrupt.”

“Nobody wants to get Oregon’s students safely back into our public schools more than educators,” the union said in a statement. “But today’s decision by Governor Brown will only result in an increasingly disparate patchwork of return plans throughout the state’s public education system – creating uncertainty in a moment when clarity has never been more crucial.”

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