Gov. Kate Brown

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Governor Kate Brown’s Healthy Schools Reopening Council convened for its first remote meeting Tuesday, July 7. The council is charged with advising the governor and the Oregon Department of Education as school districts develop their plans for a safe return to school for Oregon’s students under the Ready Schools, Safe Learners K-12 schools reopening process. Districts will develop plans for in-person instruction, remote instruction, or a combination of the two.

“With the current rise in COVID-19 cases across Oregon’s urban and rural communities, it is clear that we have our work cut out for us in terms of figuring out how students, educators, and staff can return to classrooms safely this fall,” Brown said. “This council will help to advise me about what measures we can put into place to help make our schools safe, but whether students can return to classrooms or not at the start of the school year is up to each and every one of us.”

Brown said if we continue to see COVID-19 case counts, community spread, and hospitalizations rise, districts across the state will be forced to resort to extended periods of remote instruction throughout the school year.

“I don’t want to see that happen, but it is the reality we face,” Brown said. July can be a turning point in this outbreak. It is critical that Oregonians continue to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings, or we could quickly find that a safe return to the classroom is beyond our reach.”

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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