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Distance learning to continue, plan in place for graduating high school seniors

POOL PHOTO: BETH NAKAMURA/OREGONIAN - Gov. Kate Brown announced that schools are to remain closed for the remainder of the school yearOregon Gov. Kate Brown announced today that schools across the state are to remain closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year to facilitate social distancing in an effort to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"School and learning will continue as best as we can using remote means," Brown said in the press conference.

Lake Oswego School District Superintendent Lora de la Cruz updated LOSD families on the new guidelines shortly after the press conference.

"Not returning to school in-person, while necessary for health and safety, is heartbreaking on many levels," de la Cruz said. "We are incredibly sad that we will not be coming back together as a community for the remainder of this school year."

Brown said the ODE will still provide a pathway to graduation for Oregon seniors. All high school seniors who were on track to graduate when schools closed in mid-march will receive a passing grade for their courses.

"This model will allow a student's GPA to be based on previous complete terms and will not be dependent on the district's or student's ability to engage in continued learning," de la Cruz said.

Students who did not have a passing grade as of mid-March will receive help from their teachers to create a plan towards graduation. Students will have the remaining two months as well as the summer to meet graduation requirements.

Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill said it's unclear if or when senior events like commencement will take place.

"We don't know if those will be able to be held this year," he said. He encouraged districts to "be creative" with ways to honor graduating seniors.

LOSD said health guidelines in the coming months will determine how and when they can design a celebration for seniors.

"During this time of constant change, be assured that the LOSD community is here for you. We continue our focus on the safety and well-being of each and every student," de la Cruz said.

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