Oregon Schools Are Closed Until April 28. What Does That Mean For Learning?

By Elizabeth Miller (OPB)
Portland, Ore. March 18, 2020 10:58 p.m.

Tuesday evening, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order extending school closures until April 28.

It's a sudden, big change. Just last week, schools were set to reopen at the end of March.


Related: Oregon Extends Coronavirus-Related School Closures Until April 28

Brown’s additional measures include an even longer school closure than previously planned in order to try to slow the spread of coronavirus across Oregon.

It's day three of the extended school closures, and more than half of Oregon's school districts have started providing meals to students. Most districts are offering meals at pick-up sites at different schools, while others are making stops along bus routes.

If schools want to continue receiving state funds, they must continue providing meals and pay all employees.

But there are some parts of Brown's executive order that might need some more explanation.

Remote Learning Opportunities

Excluding spring break, Oregon students will have lost 27 days of school by April 29. To keep students engaged and learning, the Oregon Department of Education recommends districts share different resources. Several districts already have pages for this, including Portland Public Schools, Beaverton School District and West Linn-Wilsonville.

ODE has said it will offer a "compilation of possible resources for school districts" in the coming days.


But ODE does not have the capacity to transfer all school online.

And if individual school districts want to replace a physical school with a digital one, it must be done equitably, ODE said.

That means students learning English, students identified as Talented and Gifted, and students with disabilities must be supported adequately.

And all students must have full access to the lessons, teachers and required materials, especially if the lessons are online ones.

"ODE does not recommend schools consider a transition to online learning unless the district can ensure" considerations around equity are met.

ODE is working on statewide plans for graduating seniors and how districts should handle instructional time requirements.

Child Care For First Responders

The governor’s order requires districts to offer “supplemental services” like child care for first responders, emergency workers and health care professionals.

Related: Oregon Closes Schools, But Prioritizes Child Care In Coronavirus Changes

There are still some unanswered questions on this front — like how many districts are required to do this.

According to ODE, school districts are required to provide child care “if asked by emergency services and if they have local capacity.”

If a school district should decide to offer child care, they'll have an expedited process.

The state's Early Learning Division recently announced a temporary rule change that allows schools and private child care providers to apply to be an Emergency Child Care Facility.