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2020-21 For Students and Families


In December 2020, Governor Kate Brown called on school leaders across Oregon to prioritize in-person instruction for students. The Governor, in collaboration with state officials from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) took the following actions:

  • Prioritization of vaccines for educators and school staff,
  • Additional access to COVID-19 testing for students and school staff,
  • Shifted the state’s COVID-19 Health Metrics for Returning to In-Person Instruction from required to advisory, ensuring local school districts have more decision-making authority to determine whether to offer in-person instruction to students.

In March 2021, Governor Brown issued Executive Order 21-06. This formally outlines clear guidance to return Oregon’s schools to in-person instruction. In this guidance, she directs school districts to provide in-person instruction (or hybrid) to K-5 grade students the week of March 29 and grades 6-12 by the week of April 19. She also directed ODE and OHA to review existing requirements; and as needed, release updates to schools.

All of the health and safety protocols outlined in the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance remain in place. These requirements have been designed by public health and education experts. They are based on scientific evidence and research-based best practices. They reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in schools. More information about best practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools are available on ODE’s website.

Schools are responsible for maintaining an operational blueprint (how they will operate schools with the required health and safety protocols in place), and following all other guidance from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). Visit your local school district website or contact your local school or district for information. If you have questions about the ODE’s guidance, please email us.

Timeline of Major Announcements

March & April 2020: Governor Kate Brown announced all Oregon schools would close for in-person instruction and remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year.

June 2020: ODE released the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance for Oregon schools, including health and safety protocols, resources for supporting students, and information to guide schools’ planning for instructional models and returning to in-person instruction.

July 2020: Governor Brown announced that community COVID-19 metrics, including data about the number of positive COVID-19 cases in local areas, would be used to determine whether schools could transition from Comprehensive Distance Learning to On-Site or Hybrid Instructional Models.

December 2020: Governor Brown announced that Oregon’s COVID-19 Health Metrics for Returning to In-Person Instruction are advisory rather than mandatory starting on January 1, 2021. Governor Brown also announced that educators and school staff are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations and schools will be able to access rapid testing.

March 2021: Governor Brown announced a clear direction to the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority:

  1. Examine current research and updated guidelines from the CDC and the US Department of Education;
  2. Review current requirements in the Ready Schools, Safe Learners (RSSL) guidance in order to better facilitate the return of in-person instruction while also reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19; and
  3. Update the advisory metrics to make clear that hybrid or in-person instruction is the primary instructional model for school districts, unless extreme rates of community transmission of COVID-19 make comprehensive distance learning necessary.

On Friday, March 12, the Governor published Executive Order 21-06 that formally outlined this directive. In response, ODE moved quickly in partnership with OHA to release updates to RSSL knowing that it has impacts on your planning.

Translated Resources

Key Practices for Mitigating Spread
Resource outlining key practices for mitigating the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Exclusion Summary Chart
To support compliance with health and safety protocols.
Terms to Know
A list of key terms with definitions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Responses to common questions