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Elevating the Voices of Young People and Children

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) asked educators to hold conversations with their classes on topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Responses were collected from April through June 2020 and shared through various formats, including these web pages. The project is now closed, although you can still view the invitation, facilitation guide, and student responses through the links below.

A summary document is available for those interested in learning more about the project. 

The student responses on this page are opinion and do not necessarily represent The Oregon Department of Education’s guidance or recommendations.

  • We discussed Covid-19 during a career day study. We discussed, "What should Oregon's leaders be learning from the Covid-19 crisis? First of all, Kinders needed government, leaders and Covid-19 defined for them first. We discussed all of those words. Then they said government and leaders sounds to them like Grandparents telling you what to do. Then they thought people should just get a shot. People get shots to stay healthy. Then they said they missed the furniture most at school. They are tired of being at home and sitting on furniture that is too big for them. They also knew firefighters and police were outside and still working. They are also sad they will not be able to play with the Kindergarten toys next year, because they will be in first grade. These are not the answers I was expecting, but this is how Kindergarten English Language Learners feel. They don't seem to mind being at home, but the furniture issue was their biggest concern, being uncomfortable sitting on large furniture in their kitchens. Scappoose School District
  • Dear Oregon leaders,

    We need to learn quickly from this crisis, in order to transform what we learned into a new vision and roadmap for the future! Oregon's priorities should be to keep their residents safe and healthy. We need to be able to prepare for any future pandemics. We need to care for our people, and ensure they have access to the basic needs of life.   Put into action safety and protection for homeless people, like having affordable and stable housing!   Make sure that people get the tools they need to thrive, like money, and food, now and in the future.    Get the economy going again, even if that means pumping money into the local businesses or forgiving loans to try to get companies back (economically) to where they were pre-pandemic.     We should also prioritize learning about how this impacts different groups, in order to better support the needs of all Oregonians now and in the future, regardless of age, race or class.  

    Going forward we should be better equipped to face these new realities and disruptions in everyday life, so as to minimize the chaos that comes from new abrupt changes.    We should analyze what happens in remote learning and how to improve it, so that if something happens again students will continue their learning.  We should put education first and have stable and equitable funding for schools.  Provide the hospitals with more funding and equipment.  And leaders should be closely watching what is working, and what isn't working during this pandemic, so they can better be prepared for the next emergency, whether it is global or very local (due to mother nature) or some other unexpected thing.  

    Give people a voice and listen to their needs and ideas to promote stronger, healthier communities.  As we move forward in planning our vision for the future, LISTEN to young people because we are the ones that can save the world!


    Mrs. Siegfried's 7th Graders @ Ockley Green
  • "The stay at home orders have made content-driven learning very difficult. The true learning has come in figuring out how to stay healthy, positive and in managing relationships at home-"

    "Students need teachers and a place to learn outside of our houses. Where I live I can't even find a place to do work. I am not going to pass my classes this term-"

    "I didn't realize how much my school helps me live a better life. I miss school lunches and seeing people who are in a good mood-"

    "We miss our teachers!"

    "I love my school and I really miss everyone-"

    "I will never complain about going to school again-"

    "Math is way too hard without my teacher-"
    Network Charter School