Oregon governor to order schools to reopen, but Inslee won’t make similar mandate | KNKX

Oregon governor to order schools to reopen, but Inslee won’t make similar mandate

Mar 5, 2021

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she will issue an executive order to mandate that public schools provide in-person instruction.

Under her order, schools will be required to offer face-to-face learning for students up through fifth grade by the end of March and by mid-April for older students. Students who prefer to remain in online learning will have that option.

Oregon prioritized teachers for vaccinations early on, and coronavirus cases have been dropping.

In a letter to the state Health Authority, Brown said the “science was clear” and that she was “relieved" that she could bring children back to class.

“I feel so much hope for Oregon’s kids, their parents and their schools, as we continue to navigate this pandemic," she said in the letter. “Our kids are our future and we need to do everything we can to make up for the losses of 2020."

In Washington, about two-thirds of students are still doing remote learning almost a year after the pandemic began.

Negotiations with teachers unions in districts such as Seattle and Highline have been contentious.

Tara Lee, a spokesperson for Gov. Jay Inslee, says his office’s legal counsel has determined Inslee does not have authority to mandate in-person instruction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.