Return to In-Person Instruction in Oregon Public Schools

Senator Wagner

Return to In-Person Instruction for Oregon Public Schools

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

One year since schools closed as part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state, Governor Kate Brown has directed all Oregon public schools to offer universal access to in-person instruction on or before the weeks of March 29 for K-5 students and April 19 for students in grades 6-12. More details are available in the Governor’s announcement here.

This decision comes as a relief to so many. As the father of four high schoolers, I know how difficult this past year of comprehensive distance learning has been. Getting our kids back into classrooms safely is another step on our road to recovery from this terrible virus.

As we move forward, let’s all remain committed to practicing the strong public health habits we’ve formed over the last year. Wearing our masks, washing our hands, and watching our distance will remain important tools for keeping our communities safe and our kids in the classroom as the vaccination effort continues. We must continue to stay nimble and adapt if circumstances change. Again, our recovery as a state is intrinsically tied to our ability to fight COVID-19, but there is plenty of hope to go around. Listen to Ezra Klein's recent podcast on the subject here.

New Summer Learning and Child Care Package

Last week, Governor Kate Brown, Senate President Peter Courtney, and House Speaker Tina Kotek unveiled a restorative $250 million Summer Learning and Child Care package to support Oregon’s kids and families as Oregon continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The COVID-19 public health crisis has been a struggle for teachers and parents across the state, and this is a valuable investment in Oregon’s students as we begin to recover from the pandemic. For more details, you can find the Governor’s announcement here, and my full statement here.

Summer Learning and Child Care

Protecting Vulnerable Youth with SB 572

In 2018, a constituent made me aware of a misalignment between Oregon statute and federal requirements for youths of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). This status protects young people who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents or guardians by allowing them to acquire a work permit and qualify to apply for permanent residence. The current gap has left vulnerable youth at risk of being deported, and it's long past time for that to change.

Three years later, I'm proud to announce that the Senate has once again passed SB 572 – a resurrection of a bill from the 2020 session that protects these vulnerable youths. I invite you to take three minutes to listen to my speech on the Senate floor discussing the effects and importance of this bill.


Senate Bill 572 passed the Oregon Senate on a 23-3 vote last Thursday.

Redistricting Roadshow

Conversations about redistricting are beginning around the state. The virtual “roadshow” allows Oregonians to make their voices heard about how our state’s political maps are drawn. Visit the Oregon Legislature’s redistricting website to find out about upcoming meetings.

Redistricting in Oregon

FEMA Awards $110 Million To Oregon For Vaccinations

We also learned last week that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded $110 million in federal funding to assist the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and partners in operating dozens of COVID-19 vaccination centers throughout the state.

As Oregon continues to ramp up its vaccination campaign based on increasing allocations from the federal government, this support from FEMA will help us to more quickly and safely administer vaccines to Oregonians across the state. Critically, it also helps to ensure that cost does not pose a barrier to our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more, find FEMA’s announcement here, and Governor Brown’s press release on the topic here.

Avoid COVID-19 Vaccination Scams

Many of you may have seen stories of unofficial volunteers helping seniors and other vulnerable folks schedule vaccination appointments in Oregon and across the United States. While neighborly care has been a vital and much-appreciated resource throughout the pandemic, the Oregon Department of Justice is also warning Oregonians to remain vigilant of possible COVID-19 vaccine scams.

The Oregon Department of Justice has launched a new campaign to reach Oregonians and prevent older adults and others hoping to receive a vaccine from being taken advantage of. Visit the campaign website for tips on avoiding scams, and how to report them if you encounter one.

Avoid COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

Updates from the Oregon Employment Department

Last week, the Oregon Employment Department (OED) is reminding Oregonians of the differences between expired and exhausted claims.

If your regular UI claim or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claim expires, you must file a new claim to continue receiving benefits. If your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claim reaches the one-year mark, keep filing for benefits each week and do not file a new PUA claim.

When your PEUC claim is exhausted, you will move to the next eligible benefit program. Since Extended Benefits is currently turned off, you will need to apply for PUA if your benefits exhaust before March 13. If your PUA claim is exhausted (has a zero balance), there are not any more funds or programs available for you until funds from the American Recovery Plan reach the state. Continue filing in the meantime as we wait for new funds to become available.

OED’s next webinar has been moved to Thursday, March 18 at 1PM. The webinar will go over the PUA expansion, the phase-out period for PEUC and PUA, and updates on federal legislation to extend unemployment insurance benefit extensions. Register in advance here.

Oregon Business Resources

Business Recovery Centers:

Local chambers of commerce are advocating to continue the work of the Business Recovery Centers in Clackamas County. Noting the estimated $81M designated to land in Clackamas County, per the American Rescue Plan, Business Recovery Centers would like to hear from business owners about their needs, and ask for respondents to fill out this 8-9 minute survey.

Business Recovery Centers Survey


Travel Oregon:

Additionally, Travel Oregon has announced their Competitive & Recovery Grants Program. The grant program provides funding for projects that work to enhance the visitor experience over both the short and long-term, with an emphasis on outdoor, distanced, and COVID-19 safe experiences. See the list of eligible project types in the full guidelines. Both nonprofit and for-profit businesses may apply. Applications open 3/15 for a two-week application period.

As always, please let me know if you need any assistance. My office and I will work to connect you with resources and get your questions answered as quickly as possible.


RW Signature

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19

email: I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301