Are Oregon students looking at distance learning in the fall?

By Helen Doran

The president of the National Education Association recently said she does not expect schools to be back to normal in the fall. “We still have a lot of questions,” she concluded. For many Oregon parents, the thought of some form of distancing learning in the fall is the last straw, especially as school leaders hesitate to promise a full-time return.

Despite mounting pressure from parents, Oregon has trailed behind much of the country in offering hybrid learning. According to a national survey of 8,000 school districts, 94% of participating districts offered fully in-person or hybrid instruction when Governor Brown required Oregon schools to offer some form of in-person instruction by the end of March.

According to Return to Learn Tracker, Oregon is currently ranked the third most cautious state in returning to classroom instruction. For many parents, this extreme caution does not match up with the state’s low COVID-19 case counts and the CDC’s recommendations for full-time school.

Students have already lost a valuable year of classroom instruction, and with it, community, extracurriculars, and individualized support. Oregon’s school leaders should follow the example of states successfully ending distance learning and commit to the goal of full-time school in the fall.

Helen Doran is a Program Assistant, External Affairs at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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