OUR VIEW: We oppose return to 'extreme risk' category
As House and Senate Republicans, we strongly disagree with your recent decision to move 15 counties back into the "extreme risk" category. We are concerned about the additional hardships it will cause people by threatening their livelihoods. Another timely concern is that this move will force another graduating class to miss out on celebrating their once-in-a-lifetime achievement: graduation.
We urge you to reconsider the threshold that has triggered this lockdown so that it reflects the large number of Oregonians who have already received their vaccinations. Short of that, we encourage directing the Education Department to issue guidance that allows Oregon high schools, universities, and professional schools to hold outdoor, socially distanced graduation ceremonies.
Last year, lockdowns caused thousands of Oregon kids to forgo this momentous occasion. We do not have to do that again.
As lawmakers, Republicans have been vocal advocates of getting our kids back in the classroom for five days a week, in-person instruction for those who want it. Our advocacy for our students extends to this freedom to celebrate their graduations safely outdoors.
The CDC guidance released this week shows that the risk of outdoor virus transmission is extremely small, especially when safety precautions are taken.
The science supports giving our schools the freedom to continue with graduation ceremonies this year.
We also invite you to support legislation proposed by both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate that would allow the legislative and executive branches to officially work together to determine these COVID-19 policies for our communities moving forward.
Rep. Christine Drazan, District 39, House Republican Leader
Sen. Fred Girod, District 9, Senate Republican Leader
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