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Lake Oswego School District presses Gov. Brown to revise COVID-19 metrics for reopening schools

Superintendent Lora de la Cruz believes that under the current guidelines, the district will likely not reopen middle or high schools this school year.

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — The Lake Oswego School Board Monday night passed a resolution urging Gov. Kate Brown to ease up on the metrics needed to reopen schools for in-person learning.

About 7,000 students attend schools in the district. Most are learning from home because of COVID-19. The superintendent said that is hurting them.

"A lack of socialization, a level of isolation and that is impacting mental health certainly and social, emotional learning,” said Superintendent Lora de la Cruz.

De la Cruz is also a parent. She suspects that under Oregon’s current requirement to reopen middle and high schools, which is just 10 cases per 100,000 people, those schools will stay closed all year.

Instead, she wants Gov. Brown to look to states like Washington which released a new plan for schools on Oct. 16. It gives local health departments and school districts the control of when to reopen and allows for cautious reopening when cases are as high as 75 per 100,000, way above Oregon’s rule for middle and high school.

Lake Oswego issued its resolutions publicly, probably to help the governor decide. School board chair Sara Pocklington said it is urgent.

“Well we do feel there are some students who are very likely being left behind right now,” she said.

The Oregon Department of Education reports that last week nearly 1,500 schools across the state taught some form of in-person learning for about 51,000 students. That sounds like a lot but there are 560,000 students in the state -- most of them likely ready to get back to school. 

Late Wednesday, the Gov. Brown's office released an update on school metrics stating that an advisory board is studying the issue.

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