Salem Reporter: School Closures In Oregon Extended Through April

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SALEM – Oregon schools will remain closed through the end of April, extending by a month the original closure ordered last week by Gov. Kate Brown.

“We must act now to flatten the curve and slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission in Oregon. Otherwise, we face a higher strain on our medical system and greater loss of life to this disease,” Brown said in a Tuesday evening announcement.

Public schools, which were scheduled to open April 1, are now closed until April 28. The order affects about 580,000 students statewide. About 41,000 students attend schools in the Salem-Keizer School District, which said it distributed about 4,000 prepared meals on Tuesday, March 17.

“School districts may call on public school educators and employees to deliver limited learning and support services,” her statement said.

She said she expected the state’s school districts to continue providing meals and child care.

“This includes the delivery of food assistance and offering child care for essential health care professionals and first responders,” the statement said.

The governor also said that “each district will pay their regular employees during the closure.”

In a statement Tuesday evening, Jim Green, the executive director of the Oregon Schools Boards Association said, “This is a new reality for all of us, and we appreciate that the governor and her staff are acting quickly against a moving target. What we are working on in the short term is figuring out ways to deliver learning to kids remotely, and in many cases ensuring that they are being fed. We’re going to get through this, but in the meantime we’ve got dozens of questions to get sorted out and 581,000 students to take care of.”

Brown earlier in the day tightened restrictions on nursing homes, residential care facilities and other licensed facilities, barring all visitors. There are about 30,000 Oregonians in such living circumstances.

This article was originally published by the Salem Reporter, one of more than a dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving heath issue.

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