COVID-19 Updates 12/30/2020

Rep. Sollman

Friends and Neighbors,

To say this year has been challenging is quite the understatement. We have experienced immense heartache. Lives have been lost, health has been strained, social norms were tossed to the wayside, schools moved to distant learning, businesses have suffered and we have experienced stress unlike ever before. I have felt the weight of the district in ways I never have experienced. The hurt, the fear and loss has been heavy on our minds, hearts and bodies. Through all of this, one thing is true, we learned we can count on each other, that together we can get through this. As we close out 2020, I am determined to do so with a grateful heart. Thank you to the healthcare professionals and medical staff for your tireless energy, effort, dedication to your patients and self-less determination to provide the best science-based care. GRATEFUL. Thank you to the educators and school staff for your patience, caring hearts, drive to help your students succeed and your flexible mindset when things went topsy-turvy. GRATEFUL. Thank you to the First Responders. Your presence never waivered, always at our doors when we called. Assisting those in need at their most-dire moment in time. GRATEFUL. Thank you to the students and parents that rose to the challenge. You showed up in the virtual world determined to push yourselves, care for each other, provide grace to educators and volunteer to help your neighbors and perfect strangers. GRATEFUL. Thank you to the essential workers that stayed at the frontlines and delivered service to each and every one of us needing groceries, banking, city services, utility service, and so much more. GRATEFUL. Thank you to our local, state and federal elected and appointed leaders. You pushed beyond your boundaries to make sure Oregonians received the help needed, from utility services, business grants, library services, safe parks for mental health breaks and more. GRATEFUL. Thank you for helping each other. Volunteering to deliver food to families in need, calls to seniors, shelters for the houseless, warmth with your smiles, homemade masks for the maskless. GRATEFUL. Thank you all for continuing to do your part to keep yourself healthy and those around you. Wear your mask, wash your hands frequently and stay at a safe distance. Light is at the end of this troubled tunnel. Please continue to do your part. We will get through this….together and for that, I am GRATEFUL.


Governor Updates

Governor Kate Brown Directs State Agencies to Put More Oregon Schools on Track to Return to In-Person Instruction by February 15, 2021

State and federal resources give communities the ability to work towards safely returning more students to the classroom, especially elementary students - Reopening decisions to be made at the local level in the new year, with school guidance reviewed for updates by January 19.

Salem, OR—In order to return as many Oregon students to the classroom as safely as possible in the new year, Governor Kate Brown last week directed the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority to implement several new policy initiatives, with the goal of putting more school districts on track to return students to in-person instruction, especially elementary students, by February 15, 2021.

The Governor noted in a letter to the agencies that state and federal resources dedicated to school reopening put this goal within reach for school districts, if communities continue to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 over the next several weeks. About $109 million in CARES Act funds were distributed to public schools in 2020. The Governor also dedicated $28 million for technology and internet assistance for students and schools. Both the Legislature and Congress have dedicated new resources for safe school reopenings in 2021, including an additional $50 million approved during Monday’s special session to support schools in the transition to in-person instruction. In addition, the Legislature also passed legislation during the special session providing reasonable liability protections for public and private schools during the remainder of the COVID-19 emergency.

“As 2021 approaches and we look to the remaining school year just over the horizon, it is clear that the greatest gift we can give to Oregon’s children this holiday season is to redouble our efforts to act responsibly and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Our students’ learning, resilience, and future well-being depend on all of us,” said Governor Brown.

“Each and every Oregonian must do our part now to be disciplined and vigilant, to socially distance, wear facial coverings, avoid large gatherings, and follow other necessary public health requirements. The alternative is for Oregonians to remain at risk from the disease for far longer, and for perhaps 90% of Oregon’s students to continue on the unpromising path of spending the remainder of their school year locked out by this virus from their classrooms and youth activities where they best learn, grow, and find connection, safety, and support.”

In her letter to ODE and OHA, the Governor directed the state agencies to continue to partner with school districts, educators, and communities in decision-making processes grounded in sound science and public health and safety, with the goal of preparing more Oregon schools, especially elementary schools, to return to in-person instruction by February 15, 2021.

With educators and school staff to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations, the Governor also directed the agencies to work with schools to provide on-site, rapid testing as a safeguard to quickly address symptomatic individuals and those with potential exposure to COVID-19.

In addition, Oregon’s school metrics, the measures of local community spread of COVID-19 that guide when it is appropriate to open schools for in person instruction, will be advisory rather than mandatory, effective January 1. Moving forward, decisions to resume in-person instruction must be made locally, district by district, school by school. In addition to schools continuing to adhere to required health and safety protocols and working in close consultation with their local public health authority in understanding and considering the metrics, teachers, school staff, parents and students should be engaged in this decision-making process to allow schools to make the best choice for their community and their students.

Many states, including Washington, have advisory metrics.The Governor added: “As our neighbors to the north have demonstrated, this does not mean schools can resume in-person instruction without regard for COVID-19 spread in the community, but instead should carefully consider the metrics in their local context, the needs of students and families, and readiness to implement health and safety protocols. As we move into a new year, we must all rise to the challenges that COVID-19 presents and prioritizing our children is most urgent.”

Finally, consistent with ongoing updates to the ODE and OHA Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance, the Governor directed the agencies to review the guidance to ensure that all necessary health and safety procedures and protocols are included to allow students the maximum access to in-person instruction in keeping with health and safety standards, including any updates to Oregon's school metrics, based on scientific data and evidence. In order to give school districts time to plan for any changes, this review will be completed by January 19, 2021.

Any proposed updates to Oregon school metrics will be reviewed by the Governor’s Medical Advisory Panel and the Healthy Schools Reopening Council in January.

Read the full press release here.

Federal Updates

Congress Passes COVID-Relief and FY 2021 Funding Package

From the National Conference of State Legislatures-NCSL

After an eight-month, stop-and-start test of endurance, Congressional leaders unveiled a $900 billion COVID-relief package and $1.4 trillion FY 2021 federal government funding package that will give critical pandemic aid to Americans, while ensuring federal agency operations through September 2021. The mammoth measure will provide another round of direct payments to certain citizens, enhanced unemployment benefits, funding for schools, and aid to sectors still reeling from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Find more information on the federal COVID-relief package at NCSL here.  

Oregon Health Authority Updates

COVID-19 and Winter Sports

From the Oregon Health Authority

For many Oregonians, the winter season ushers in an overwhelming desire to take to the slopes. With COVID-19 in our community, however, winter sports are going to look a little different this year.

COVID-19 and Winter Sports

COVID-19 Vaccine Myths

From the Oregon Health Authority

There's been some speculation on social media about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. Here's what the Oregon Health Authority experts had to say about this myth.

Vaccine Myths

Avoid COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

A reminder from the Oregon Scam Alert:

Vaccine Scam Alert

To join the Oregon Scam Alert Network and receive future Scam warnings, visit here.

Washington County Updates

Board of Commissioners Seeking Volunteers to Serve on New Salary Commission

From Washington County Board of Commissioners

In November, Washington County voters approved a ballot measure to amend the County Charter and establish an independent salary commission to set salaries for each member of the Board of Commissioners. The establishment of a new salary commission will replace the existing method for setting commissioners’ salaries as a percentage of the circuit court judge salaries, as described in the County Charter.  

On December 22, 2020, the Board voted unanimously to authorize the formation of a five-person Salary Commission. This action opens a three week recruitment period for volunteers to apply. Qualified applicants must be human resource professionals with management level compensation experience. Individuals will be selected through an independent process that values cultural, geographic and sector diversity. Although members will serve on a voluntary basis, there may be an opportunity for continuing education credits through the Society for Human Resource Management.

The Board’s action also directs the County Administrator to hire an independent consultant to recruit potential Salary Commission members for Board consideration and to take any additional actions needed to facilitate the creation and operation of the Salary Commission.

To apply or obtain more information about this opportunity, please visit the Boards and Commissions web page and scroll down to “Washington County Salary Commission.”

Community Outreach

Hillsboro School District Outstanding Teacher

Hillsboro High School Choir teacher, Benjamin Noyes recently submitted a video for his school's talent show and his submission has gone viral! Watch the fun video here: ALL BY MYSELF-Teacher Struggles With Distance Learning. Mr. Noyes has previously been recognized as a K103 Educator of the Week and received a Staff of the Month award in October. Thank you, Mr. Noyes for the difference you are making in our students’ lives. Our educators deserve our deep appreciation for a very challenging school year. They continue to inspire.

Phoenix Chamber Choir: Longest Time-Quarantine Version

Enjoy this performance from our Canadian neighbors, the Phoenix Chamber Choir, presents a 'social distance -sing project.' Longest Time - Quarantine Version. Watch here.

Additional Resources

 House District 30 Links

Federal Delegation Links

Education Links

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance

In this challenging year, I have been fortunate to appreciate some silver linings. I have a wonderful team to support the work we are doing for House District 30. Nickole Vargas has been a stellar Chief of Staff who has balanced her family, her role on the Hillsboro Parks & Rec Commission and the needs of constituents with grace, compassion and empathy. She is the calm voice on the end of your calls and the helpful resource just a click away via email. Mark Watson has brought his small business perspective, his role on the Hillsboro School Board and his tech-savvy skills to the table. He has delved into the bill research process with excitement. The high school interns; Olivia, Lily and Ishaan have brought their fresh, youthful views and passion for service. House District 30 is well-served.

For me personally, my family and dear friends have meant the world to me even more so in a rough-n-tumble year. My husband and I experienced the brightest spot of all this year, becoming first-time grandparents to sweet Oliver. I cannot wait to hold him and love on him in our post-COVID time. For now, I will enjoy our Sunday virtual story and song time every week.

May you continue to focus on even the littlest things that bring you joy and comfort in the new year. Be good to yourself and each other. ❤

New Year graphic

Onward & Upward,


Capitol Phone: 503-986-1430
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-487, Salem, Oregon 97301