Coronavirus Update, School Reopening Plans and More

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Representative Smith Warner


Tomorrow - Thursday August 6 at 5:30pm - I will be hosting a Zoom town hall with Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer and Sen. Michael Dembrow that will focus on addressing your questions and concerns about rebalancing the state budget. As many of you know, the governor has called the legislature to convene for our second special session next Monday, August 10. Our commitment to you is that we will work to preserve the critical programs and services that Oregonians rely on most, including health care, child welfare and education. I appreciate your advocacy and input on the important issues we are facing, and look forward to working together to continue to move Oregon forward. 

This event is limited to 100 participants and you must register in advance to gain access to the event:
As always, please contact my office with any questions you might have, or if you need assistance registering. I hope you are able to join me in this informative discussion. 

Town Hall

Oregon Health Authority Update
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we continue to see an alarming increase in cases here in Oregon.
The Weekly Testing Summary from the Oregon Health Authority showed 2,174 positive COVID-19 tests out of 35,424 tests, indicating a test positivity of 6.1 percent, one of the highest rates observed since the early pandemic. 

We each have a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus. You can protect yourself and others by doing the following:

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that you often touch.
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or tissue and avoid touching your face. 
  • Stay at least six feet away from people who you do not live with. 
  • Wear a cloth, paper or disposable face covering when you go out. A face covering may help stop the spread of the virus as more people are out and about. 

The updated daily numbers are available here:!/vizhome/OregonCOVID-19Update/CaseandTesting

The new weekly testing report is available here:

Employment Department Launches NEW Initiative
The Oregon Employment Department launched a new initiative, Benefits While You Wait. This is a new way to allow OED to pay benefits to Oregonians who are waiting for their claim to be reviewed by an adjudicator. Individuals can expect to receive their regular unemployment benefit. That information is sent in an unemployment claim determination letter in the mail which shows the maximum benefits payable. As long as someone qualifies for PUA and files weekly regular unemployment claims, the Employment Department will pay these Oregonians their regular unemployment benefit amount until their claim is adjudicated.

This will  help people who are waiting for a determination of eligibility for regular unemployment or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The Employment Department is proactively notifying claimants who have been identified to fall into this group via email and robo calls. Claimants are encouraged to continue filing their weekly claims as they have been. The Employment Department will notify people who may be able to benefit from this approach.Oregonians who may be eligible for Benefits While You Wait are:

  1. Those who applied for regular unemployment benefits;
  2. Had their claim flagged for adjudication because the Employment Department has to determine if they meet the legal requirements to get regular unemployment benefits;
  3. Individuals that are out of work due to a COVID-19 qualifying reason (see full list below); AND
  4. Are likely eligible for PUA if they cannot receive regular unemployment benefits.

School Reopening Plans in the Fall
Governor Brown and leaders from OHA and the Oregon Department of Education last week announced new guidance about schools and how they might operate this fall. There is no simple, statewide answer for every school in Oregon. Oregon public health officials have developed evidence-based metrics to help school boards and school districts make decisions about how they can safely reopen schools. The updated school reopening metrics are available here.

Fall 2020

Here in House District 45, districts are announcing their plans for the fall.  Parkrose School District  will begin the 2020-21 school year with Comprehensive Distance Learning beginning Monday, September 14th and will stay in Comprehensive Distance Learning until at least November 6th. Parkrose will continue to prepare for the 20-21 school year and develop a comprehensive distance learning plan that will be beneficial to all students. For more detailed information click here for an update from Parkrose Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao. 

Portland Public Schools also announced the PPS fall semester will begin online, using a new, comprehensive distance learning model. This means all students PreK through Grade 12 will participate in an online learning model from September 2 (the first day of the 2020-21 school year in PPS) until at least November 5, which is the end of the first quarter. For more detailed information click here.

Please reach out to my office if you have any additional questions, or if there’s anything you think I could help with. 



Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

email: I phone: 503-986-1445
address: 900 Court St NE, H-295, Salem, OR 97301