Thursday night, Gov. Kate Brown ordered the closure of state K-12 schools for the remainder of March, beginning Monday, March 16.
Brown said in a statement, “Schools are critical institutions that provide important services for all our students, but especially our most vulnerable, and during this crisis I have worked hard to ensure those critical services continue. So many of our families depend on school in order for parents to go to their jobs, and for students to access health care and receive nutrition assistance.
“However, I have heard from superintendents, school board members, teachers, parents, and students that it has now become impossible to functionally operate schools due to workforce issues and student absences. Schools are experiencing critical shortages in staff, and superintendents are concerned for school personnel who are at elevated risk such as those over age 60 and those with underlying medical issues,” the governor said.
Brown’s order follows an announcement by local school officials earlier in the day that many activities would be suspended until April 8, in accordance with guidance from the governor.
Brown said, “I want to be very clear: sending Oregon children home will not stop the spread of the coronavirus. While children are home, when at all possible, they should not be in the care of older adults or those with underlying health issues that are most at-risk from COVID-19.”
In response to the governor's order, Lincoln County School District officials announced Friday they would extend spring break to begin March 16.
Brown's directive follows an executive order issued Thursday morning prohibiting public gatherings of 250 people or more.
Also Thursday night, the Oregon Health Authority announced six more presumptive coronavirus cases at a veterans’ home in Linn County, bringing the state’s number of COVID-19 patients to 30.