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2020-21 For Students and Families

Update On Returning To In-Person Instruction


Beginning on January 1, 2021, local school districts have more decision-making authority to determine whether to offer in-person instruction to students. Decisions about instructional models (Comprehensive Distance Learning, On-Site, or Hybrid) will be made by local school districts. Previously, the state released COVID-19 Health Metrics for Returning to In-Person Instruction. These metrics determined if and when schools were eligible to offer in-person instruction. Those metrics are now advisory. This means schools and districts are informed but not required to make their decisions of instructional model.

All of the previously announced health and safety protocols, expectations for maintaining an operational blueprint, and all other guidance from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) remains active and required for all schools and districts. 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.

Local school districts are designing their own processes for determining when to reopen schools to in-person instruction. 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

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.

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

A Statement for Oregon Families on School Year 2020-21

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) knows families are the first teachers and provide a vital foundation for children and young people. We recognize that you are essential partners for every school district and educator. We understand that you need and deserve a clear understanding of how school is being organized and delivered in 2020-21.

ODE has released Ready Schools, Safe Learners Guidance designed for school leaders that puts forward the requirements and recommendations school districts will use to design and open schools across the state in the fall.

This guidance describes what we know now, with an understanding that we will all need to navigate the state’s evolving efforts to mitigate COVID-19. As part of that work, we will regularly release updated versions of the guidance based on feedback. We deeply appreciate the comments from over 8,000 parents in the last few months, and we used those comments to inform the development of the guidance. 

ODE’s focus is on the Safe Reentry of Students and Staff to School. We have and will continue to work closely with the Oregon Health Authority to develop and update requirements and recommendations for school districts that meet our obligations for health, safety, equity, and quality instruction across the state. Oregon Health Authority epidemiologists helped create and vet this guidance, and this collaboration ensures that your school leaders have the critical information they need so that school doors are open and ready to welcome students in the fall.

For the 2020-21 school year, each and every public school will work under the direction of the school district to develop an Operational Blueprint for Reentry that meets the requirements outlined in the guidance while tailoring their approach for their own students, staff, and community. Through this process, each school must also determine whether they will teach all students on-site, teach all students through distance learning, or utilize a hybrid model that combines both approaches. Before the beginning of the school year, the local school board must review each school’s plan and make it available to the community on the district website.

ODE is honored to work alongside school leaders, health officials, educators, and families to meet the challenges and opportunities of this moment. This guidance places the design and decision-making of the coming school year into the capable hands of your district’s educators, principals, business managers, superintendent and school board-- people from your community who know best what your school needs to provide a high quality, equity-focused education for all students.

Thank you for your contributions, energy, and patience as we work together to keep students safe, engaged, and learning.

A Statement for Oregon’s Students on School Year 2020-21

We care about you.

Hundreds, really thousands of people in Oregon are thinking about you every day and working together to solve problems and find ways for you to learn, play, and dream.

At the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), we wanted to make sure you understand how “school” and learning is being planned for the year ahead. ODE’s focus is on the safe reentry of students and staff to school.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • School leaders and districts have been given information and guidance to design how your schools will open this fall.
  • Different schools and districts will likely come up with different plans based on what they understand is best for you and the community.
  • Your teachers are important to how this works and will also be finding themselves stretched to support you and your learning while meeting the public health requirements we need to meet because of COVID-19.
  • Your teachers and districts benefit from your ideas, imagination, and your patience.
  • Every school is expected to follow what the science and data tells us is the best way to learn together in the new year.
  • Everyone is working closely with public health leaders to keep learning about the most important ways to keep learning safe. As we learn more, the requirements for how your school learning is organized might keep changing.
  • Each and every school will develop what we are calling an Operational Blueprint for Reentry which will explain how your school will open in the new year and share their plans to meet the health and safety protocols required. Your schools will post it to their website no later than August 17, 2020.

Visit the ODE website or reach out to your teachers or school counselors to learn more information.

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