Shortly before Christmas, as Oregon schools faced their 10th month under some of the nation’s sternest coronavirus restrictions, Gov. Kate Brown began a major push to reopen classrooms.
She relaxed certain standards for restarting in-person teaching. She offered to help districts pay for masks, testing and tracing, and improved ventilation. Most important, she prioritized teachers and school staff members for vaccination — ahead of some older people.
Her goal: to resume in-person classes statewide by Feb. 15.
But today, roughly 80 percent of Oregon’s 560,000 public schoolchildren remain in fully remote instruction. And while some districts are slowly bringing children back, two of the largest, Portland and Beaverton, do not plan to reopen until at least April — and then only for younger students.