Parent group advocates for statewide return to classroom
Earlier this school year, the parent group Clack to School was advocating for all Clackamas County students to have the option of safe in-person learning. Since then the group has merged with similar groups across the state to create ED300.
"We are calling on appointed and elected leaders to remove statewide barriers to in-person learning by Jan. 6, 2021," the group's news release states.
Jennifer Dale, a Lake Oswego parent and one of the supporters behind Clack to School, said the decision to merge came from realizing there were other groups advocating the same thing, and wanting to work together.
"We're really aligned in our goal to have more options," Dale said. "Everybody needs this."
Gov. Kate Brown recently announced a change to the metrics, loosening requirements to make it easier for districts to begin in-person learning. The announcement, however, came just as COVID-19 cases began to skyrocket across the state, leaving many school districts out of reach of even these new metrics.
"What we heard from the governor was a change in the tone and a change in the conversation," Dale said.
She said the governor emphasized that reopening schools should be a priority, which the group appreciated.
She said she was concerned that the new metrics still leave behind a substantial portion of the student population, given that they allow elementary students to return to school first.
Not only that, but Dale said returning to school is still linked to metrics that she believes are unattainable.
Dale said other states have shown that in-person learning is not a major driver of increased positive cases of COVID-19, something the state of Oregon observed as well. It was a contributing factor in the change to less restrictive metrics.
"If it was demonstrated that there was a large outbreak in schools, then that would make sense," Dale said.
She said the majority of spread is happening in homes and small gatherings.
"We need to look at the metrics and what they really mean and where (spread is) occurring," Dale said.
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