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Planning for the 2020-21 School Year

At the direction of the Governor, the Oregon Department of Education is developing guidance for the 2020-21 school year that accounts for a variety of possibilities, knowing our course must adjust to protect the physical and mental health and wellbeing of Oregon students, educators, families and communities.

The guidance will provide essential functions and specific criteria for how to integrate public health guidance into our education system.

While the disease creates uncertainty, ODE is confident in the ability of our communities and educators to come together to meet the challenge to provide continuity of learning for our children.

We’re centering families, youth, educators, local district leaders and community organizations throughout the state in the planning process because the people who are most involved with schools are the ideal source for the solutions we need.

We are stronger when we move together, growing collective resilience to meet the health, emotional and academic needs and strengths of our children and communities.

Our assumptions:

  • Science and health driven. The virus and science/data-based mitigation efforts will determine the levels of course correction and require contingencies.
  • Complex context. In local response to COVID-19, there is varying knowledge, expertise and capacity, and considerations for values within communities.
  • Strained system. As the pandemic has impacted the economy, public schools are experiencing disruptions in their community context, resource limitations and readiness issues.
  • Communities have been impacted disproportionately. All public schools must recognize disproportionate impacts and respond to counter inequities.
  • Accommodations for vulnerable people. Accommodations will be needed for students, teachers, administrators and school staff.
  • Family confidence and readiness. Parents and families must have confidence that schools are ready to open and serve students while keeping them safe.
  • We need your thinking. The people who are closest to the education system are the key to unlocking the innovative solutions we need to meet the academic needs and strengths of Oregon students and the social-emotional needs of Oregon students and staff.


May: Guidance development and deep community engagement

June: Publish first round of guidance

June - September: Communicate, monitor, assess, and iterate

What ODE Is Doing

Listening to the voices of Oregonians through multiple engagement methods

  • Convening and listening to community based organizations and culturally specific organizations
  • The Educator Advancement Council hosted engagement sessions with over 200 educators who identify as black, Indigenous and/or people of color
  • Convening over 14 listening sessions and will continue to host more: Oregon Association of School Executives, Coalition of Oregon School Administrators, ODE-Equity Diversity and Inclusion Black, Indigenous and People of Color Advisories, Latinx Leaders, Oregon Association of Central Office Administrators, Oregon Education Association, Oregon School Boards Association.
  • Elevating the Voice of our Children
  • Meeting regularly with key partners representing the educators who lead and work in Oregon’s schools
  • Meeting regularly with the Oregon Health Authority, Early Learning Division, Youth Development Division, Higher Education Coordinating commission and the Governor’s Office

Ongoing research into how best to open schools under COVID-19

  • Assigned a research team to assemble national and international research on teaching and learning models.
  • Deployed research leaders to scan national and international research on school configurations.
  • Convened a national think tank session to learn best and promising approaches to a 2020-21 school year.

How You Can Help

Teachers and Students

Parents and Community

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