COVID-19: School Closures and Other Updates

Senator Ginny Burdick

COVID-19: School Closures and Other Updates

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With beautiful weather here in Oregon, it is important that we continue to stay home and save lives. I know that it is tempting to want to go out and enjoy the wonderful parks and outdoor areas. However, it is critical that we continue to practice social distancing.

The situation in Oregon remains serious and we have a long way to go before we are through this crisis. It looks like our social distancing measures are working and we are beginning to flatten the curve. We cannot stop now.

We know that you may be getting stir crazy and the nice weather makes it challenging to keep everyone home. By staying home, you are helping to save lives. I know this is a sacrifice. We would hate for people to catch a little spring fever and start flooding our local, state and federal parks and expose themselves or others to coronavirus. Many communities have expressed concerns and frustrations with folks traveling from the valley into their rural communities. It places constraints on local resources and potentially brings COVID-19 to their communities that have not yet had known cases. We hope the finish line is close, but this is a marathon not a sprint. We will lose the lead we have on containing this virus if we rush things now.

Please see the chart below for helpful tips of what you should and should not do while enjoying the sunny Oregon weather this weekend.



School Closure Extension and Distance Learning

Governor Brown announced Wednesday that regular K-12 classes will not resume for the rest of this school year.  

This was a difficult decision, but the bottom line is that this is the best way for us to protect our students, educators, classified staff and volunteers right now. School classrooms are not spaces where we can safely and effectively practice social distancing, which is critical to keeping our school communities safe. The Governor also highlighted the need to give families and employees the certainty they need to plan out the rest of the school year instead of playing a constant guessing game during this rapidly evolving situation. The Oregon Department of Education has issued guidance for the “Distance Learning for All” programs that school districts are already practicing. 

We also want to make sure that we're getting our graduating seniors the resources they need to complete their high school careers and take their next steps. Seniors had already completed the majority of their education when the schools closed in mid-March and no one wants to see their futures affected. Therefore, the Governor has announced the Department of Education's official Graduation Pathways 2020 guidance, which includes the following:

  • Students who had passing grades at the time of the closure will receive a Pass for the remainder of the year, and thereby full credit for those courses and fulfillment of graduation requirements.
  • Districts will work with students who did not have a passing grade in a course in mid-March to get them the extra attention that they need to get their grade up to a passing level. If they can do so by August, they will be considered part of the graduating class of 2020.
  • The Essential Skills and Personalized Learning requirements for the diploma will be waived this year.
  • It’s too soon to know if districts will be able to hold in-person graduation ceremonies in June. In any case, districts will find ways to celebrate and honor this year’s graduating seniors.

Teachers are working hard to get in touch with students and continue their educational growth. If you are a parent of a K-12 student who has not heard from your teacher or school, please reach out to them.

The Governor also announced that she is extending the existing college and university closures for the remainder of the term. Classes will continue distance learning in the meantime.

Domestic Violence and Child Welfare Resources

We know that this public health crisis makes schools unsafe for everyone. We also know that sadly home isn't a safe place for some of our students and community members. Please consider reaching out to one of these resources if you need help:

  • If you are experiencing domestic violence a great place to start is The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
    • If you are concerned your phone or computer may be monitored try to reach out to a friend or neighbor for support or access to a safer option. 
  • Contact the Call to Safety Crisis Line at 1-888-235-5333 for referrals to local programs.
  • Or find local service providers online on the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (OCADSV) website.
  • The DHS Child Welfare Program will continue to operate the 24/7 statewide Child Abuse hotline to respond to reports of abuse and neglect. They are also working with community partners to maintain support to families. Report suspected abuse or neglect by calling the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline at 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).

Oregon Ventilator Contribution

Last Saturday, Governor Brown donated 140 ventilators to the state of New York where there are more than 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. As Governor Brown stated, “Oregon doesn’t have everything we need to fight COVID-19 -- we need more PPE and testing -- but we can help today with ventilators. We are all in this together.” I am grateful the Governor made this decision and I’m confident should the time come, and Oregon needs this type of assistance, other states will step up to help. We must take care of one another.

Unemployment Insurance

You have probably heard about or experienced firsthand the record-breaking number of claims for Unemployment Insurance (UI). Thank you to the many of you who reached out to my office and let me know of your struggles. The Oregon Employment Department is working diligently to get through those claims. I know it is stressful to wait. 

The phones at the UI department have also been overburdened. For those who are working their way through the process or have questions, a lot of information is available online including “How-To Videos”. If you have questions, e-mail is the best way to get them answered. You can write to

Business Oregon - Small Business Navigator

Business Oregon collaborated with the Oregon Employment Department, the Secretary of State’s Office and the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to create a Small Business Navigator. The tool includes a hotline and a website containing comprehensive information on key programs for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Other available resources on the site include:

More resources will be added on an ongoing basis as they become available.


My previous newsletters have some helpful links and information specifically about Senate District 18. They can be found here: 

If you have any additional questions or concerns that these newsletters are not addressing, please reach out to my office so that we may continue to be a resource for you. 

Enjoy the weekend and the sunshine and remember that by continuing to practice social distancing, you are saving lives. 


Yours in Sequestration, 


Senator Ginny Burdick 
Senate Majority Leader
District 18

email: I phone: 503-986-1718
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301


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