Hill to Hall April 8–18

April 8: Oregon schools to remain closed through the year


According to AP News, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced Oregon’s K-12 schools will remain closed through the academic year due to COVID-19, sending Oregon teachers and over 580,000 students to an online curriculum. Seniors who were on track with their classes will graduate on time, and Brown urged districts to work with seniors whose grades were not passing to earn the credits to graduate. Proms, graduation ceremonies and other year-end celebrations will be put on hold or held online. According to The Oregonian, students will not receive letter grades for their classes during the pandemic, and instead earn either a passing or incomplete grade. 


April 13: Washington, Oregon and California create pact to fight COVID-19


Washington Governor Jay Inslee, California Governor Gavin Newsom and Oregon Governor Kate Brown said Monday they will work together to control the spread of COVID-19 and re-open their state economies, according to AP News. The states each have individual plans for re-opening, but have agreed to work together to make residents’ health a priority, as well as collectively acknowledging a series of broad principles that include consistent testing and contact tracing initiatives. Inslee said health leaders in the three states will focus on four goals: protecting vulnerable populations, ensuring adequate hospital capacity and personal protective equipment in order to care for the sick, mitigating non-direct COVID-19 health impacts and protecting the general public. 


April 14: Oregon Governor announces criteria to re-open the state’s economy


Oregon Governor Kate Brown said until she sees a decline in the rate of active cases of COVID-19 and the public health data suggests it’s safe, she won’t ease restrictions or re-open the state’s economy.  According to OPB, Brown said on April 14 she wanted to ensure the state has adequate testing with sufficient tracing and isolation strategies, enough protective gear for health workers and enough hospital beds to treat a surge of COVID-19 cases. She also said the state is working to respond to the state’s most vulnerable populations, such as nursing home patients and the houseless. Brown indicated she might ease restrictions in certain parts of the state first and help businesses adopt new safety standards.


April 16: Oregon Governor to waive unemployment waiting week

According to The Oregonian, Brown announced the state will waive the one-week waiting period for newly unemployed Oregonians, so they would start receiving checks soon after applying.  The policy could provide more than $100 million in benefits to Oregonians unemployed due to COVID-19. Many states have eliminated the one-week waiting period due to a rescue package Congress approved last month. Once instated, the change will apply retroactively to people who have already filed for benefits. Currently, over 300,000 Oregonians are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Oregonian.