Coronavirus Update: When Schools Are Closed

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Coronavirus Update: When Schools Are Closed

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Tomorrow is the first of the month. Many people are paying bills and rent payments are due soon.

I had hoped that the Legislature would have returned to work by today to take up an emergency response package, including more rent assistance for people out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic.

I want to assure you that I am doing all I can to finalize this relief package and get the Legislature into a special session as soon as possible to pass it. I am sorry that I have not been able to move this process faster. I’m glad the Governor has issued an order to suspend evictions. But people still need help to pay their rent and there is more help the Legislature can provide. Please know that I’m not giving up!

As a reminder, the City of Portland and Multnomah County also have eviction moratoriums in place and have a helpful FAQ here. The Community Alliance of Tenants has a resource page for coronavirus-related issues here.

Eviction Moratorium

What’s Next for Students?

On March 12th (yes, not that long ago), Governor Brown closed schools to protect the health of students and educators, as well as reduce the spread of coronavirus to others. That original order has since been extended through Tuesday, April 28.

While nothing has been announced, it wouldn't surprise me if students don’t return to their school buildings this academic year. This is hard on everyone, but it might be necessary.

Today, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) issued guidance to superintendents across the state about how to handle distance learning for the foreseeable future. Every school district has been directed to have their Distance Learning for All Plan in place by Monday, April 13th. Educators can find more guidance around distance learning here, and there is a guide here for families about at-home learning.

In addition to challenges that come with learning outside the classroom, this pandemic is also taking a toll on the mental health of students. ODE has recommendations here for mental health strategies to support student well-being while learning at home. I’d also recommend the website Work 2 Be Well, which has curricula and resources for helping students, parents, and teachers adjust to this new reality.

Punch Through Pandemics with Psychological Science!

Oregon State University is offering a free online course that is available to all members of the public, focused specifically on understanding the stress that comes with this pandemic and developing coping methods. Course registration is available here, and Oregon Public Broadcasting has an in-depth story on the class here.

The Latest News

  • Oregon received permission from the federal government to expand Oregon Health Plan (OHP) enrollment during the coronavirus pandemic. This increased flexibility for our state Medicaid program is essential for our most vulnerable neighbors. Everyone who is currently on OHP will not lose coverage during this crisis. Additionally, individuals can sign up for OHP without having to verify their income with their application. Finally, federal stimulus payments and increased unemployment payments will not affect OHP eligibility.
  • The Governor’s Coronavirus Information and Resource website is now available in multiple languages. You can select a language by clicking on the drop-down language menu right below her picture.
  • Are you a retiree wondering whether you might receive a stimulus check from the federal government because of the CARES Act? I heard today that if you haven’t filed taxes in a while, you’ll need to file a short form tax return right away to get this assistance because the money will be linked to your tax filing information. I will try to find out more about this soon!
  • The Oregon Health Authority announced 84 more diagnosed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the statewide total to 690. Sadly, we have now seen 18 deaths statewide. These numbers are expected to continue to rise in the near future as testing capacity keeps increasing. A silver lining is that modeling shows that Governor Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives order is slowing the spread of the virus and giving hospitals time to build up capacity.

OHA COVID-19 Update 033120

For up to date information, please check this link to the Oregon Health Authority where regular updates are posted:

Please email me at if you have specific concerns that have not been addressed by the OHA. Our office will do all we can to help and protect all Oregonians.

Thank you for reading! We will get through this together.



Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301