We Are Bending The Curve

Senator Wagner

Bending the Curve - Day by Day

We've been working hard to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. This work has helped our state stay within our medical supply capacity and it has saved lives.

I know this has been challenging during these sunny Spring days. Thank you all for your commitment to critical distancing measures. We are not out of the woods yet, but we appear to be bending the curve in the right direction.

I've heard from many constituents about lost jobs, struggles with the unemployment filing system, and concerns about where to live as this crisis unfolds. I know how hard the transition to distance learning has been for families and educators alike. Our State government employees are working around the clock to connect everyone in need with resources. Essential workers are making tremendous sacrifices to keep others healthy, fed, and connected. We're living in an unprecedented moment in history - thank you for sticking up for one another and coming together as a community. Oregonians' solidarity in the past month has been incredible to watch.

Please reach out to my office if you have a question about a government program or the State's coronavirus response. We will do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible and to connect you with resources. Be well and take care.



State Senator Rob Wagner

Upcoming Virtual Town Halls

I will be holding two virtual town halls via Zoom next week. Please email my Chief of Staff, Gordon Levitt (gordon.levitt@oregonlegislature.gov), if you would like to attend either of the town halls. He will send you a link, a password, and log-in instructions.

  1. On Tuesday, April 28, I'll be joined by Congresswoman Bonamici and several other guests to discuss the impacts of the coronavirus response on education and children’s well-being. The call will be held from 5:00 – 6:00 pm.

  2. On Wednesday, April 29, I'll be joined by Congressman Schrader and several other guests to discuss the impacts of the coronavirus response on businesses and labor, and pathways to economic recovery. The call will be held from 4:00 – 5:00 pm.

More information about each town hall will be sent later this week and will also be posted to my social media accounts. I look forward to seeing many of you on Zoom!

Education Equity

Children, teachers, parents, and school administrators across the country have been placed in challenging circumstances by the spread of COVID-19 and the cancellation of months of the school year. In the past month and a half, I've had dozens of conversations about how we move forward locally and statewide. With both of my sisters teaching in our public schools, four teenagers at home working hard to adapt to distance learning, and my service as the volunteer chair of the Lake Oswego School Board, I've seen and heard just how difficult this moment is for everyone.

I've also seen how much of a divide there is between families with significant resources and families with less resources. It is crucially important that local and statewide decisions are equitable for ALL of our students.

A few days ago the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released guidance to local school districts for grades 9-11. Here is a bulletin describing the changes.

There are two key changes.

  1. Juniors will not be expected to fulfill the “Essential Skills” part of the diploma requirements, but subsequent graduating classes will.

  2. All districts are being directed to move from letter grades to Pass/Incomplete (or local equivalent) for 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Students who have not achieved a passing grade for a course by the end of the school year will receive an Incomplete grade for the course and given the opportunity to continue to work to get the grade up to a Pass. ODE has been told that colleges and universities won’t penalize students for having Pass grades on their transcript for this period. You can read the details of the guidance here.

Also, ODE has set up a Distance Learning for All website that addresses a number of issues related to educational responses to the COVID crisis.

If you have questions about how the guidance is being implemented in your school district, please go directly to their website.  Here are the links for local school districts:

What About Students Who Are Taking AP Courses?

The College Board describes the options available for students and their families in this article.

What about the SAT or ACT Exams?                                                                   

Oregon’s universities have chosen to join others around the country in no longer requiring that applicants have taken the SAT or ACT standardized exams.  For those students that do want to take the exam: here is a press release from the people at the SAT with information about their plans for the coming months and ongoing resources that students can access.

Federal Update

Congressional leaders and the President are continuing negotiations over the contents of the next piece of legislation. It is likely that the medical sector and small businesses will receive additional financial support. CNN reports that a new funding bill may pass as soon as this afternoon.

Oregon's congressional delegation has been actively involved in the negotiations - below are some of the priorities:

State Response

what it takes to reopen

The Legislature’s Emergency Board will meet remotely this week to make some disbursements from the $50 million remaining in the State's emergency fund.

Plans for disbursements from the fund are not yet finalized. It is highly unlikely that all of the funds will be spent - we need to hold funds in reserve for Oregon's quickly approaching forest fire season.

email: Sen.RobWagner@OregonLegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-215, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/wagner