PORTLAND, Ore. — Hours after Gov. Kate Brown released new, relaxed rules for bringing students back to the classroom, the Oregon Education Association is speaking out against the changes. OEA is a union that represents roughly 44,000 educators throughout the state.
Under the new metrics, close to 130,000 students will be eligible to return to the classroom, despite recent record high daily COVID-19 numbers in the state. In a press conference on Friday, Brown cited ongoing struggles caused by distance learning, including women disproportionately taking on added child care responsibilities and lack of internet access for some communities.
OEA President John Larson issued the following statement:
"Nobody wants to get students back to the classroom more than Oregon's educators, but the process to bring those students back must be thoughtful and deliberative. The Governor's decision to hastily implement new, relaxed, metrics will only serve to further disrupt education for students, families, and educators throughout Oregon — allowing districts to bring students back to the classroom before it is safe to do so and increasing the likelihood that our schools and communities will again be forced to lock down in the future.
"Now is the time for Oregon leaders to focus on taking strong steps to reduce the ever-climbing community spread of COVID-19 in our state and put in place safeguards that will keep our most at-risk community members safe."
Community spread is when cases cannot be traced to a source.
The new metrics are effective immediately.