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PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL: Oregon schools won't hold in-person classes for rest of academic year
Author: Jonathan Bach
Posted: April 8, 2020

View the original story and video on the Portland Business Journal website. 

Oregon schools will not hold in-person classes for the rest of the academic year, Gov. Kate Brown said on Wednesday.

The governor also said she is extending an executive order for the state's post-secondary education system to continue using distance learning through the end of the academic term.

"We understand the incredible disruption this can have on each student's education," Brown said at press conference. "We all see the isolation and the challenges for our families."

The decision was made for safety reasons, the governor said, pointing to the impossibility of maintaining social distancing inside classrooms and schools. She said members of Oregon's education workforce tend to be older and possibly more susceptible to COVID-19.

"Deciding to close now for the rest of the school year allows us to invest time and resources in the delivery of learning and supporting our students through distance education and remote means," she said.

The Oregon Department of Education put together plan to honor students' work through March and create a path to graduation, she said. All high school seniors who were on track to graduate before the statewide school closure will get a passing grade for courses, allowing Oregon to maintain its graduation requirements.

Brown said she refused "to punish students" because they weren't able to go to class for a little more than two months. For students who didn't have a passing grade in mid-March, she asked Oregon school districts to find "creative ways" to give those seniors additional attention to get over the finish line.

No students admitted to public universities this fall will lose their admission because of the new grade policy or because they cannot complete coursework so long as they still graduate, Brown said.