Brown says reopening schools will be a local decision, beginning Jan. 1

The state's largest teachers union called the decision "abrupt."

Posted: Dec 23, 2020 2:58 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2020 6:43 PM

SALEM, Ore.--In a major policy shift, Gov. Kate Brown this afternoon said local school boards could decide when to return to school, based on their own judgment, independent of the state's school metrics guidelines.

Brown said her school metrics, which had been mandatory, will only be "advisory" in nature beginning Jan. 1.

"This does not mean schools can resume in-person instruction without regard for COVID-19 spread in the community," Brown said, "but instead should carefully consider the metrics in their local context, the needs of students and families, and readiness to implement health and safety protocols."

The Oregon Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, called Brown's decision "abrupt."

“Nobody wants to get Oregon’s students safely back into our public schools more than educators," the union said in a statement. "But today’s decision by Governor Brown will only result in an increasingly disparate patchwork of return plans throughout the state’s public education system – creating uncertainty in a moment when clarity has never been more crucial."

This is a developing story.

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