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Gov. Kate Brown said distance learning to proceed, state plans for high school seniors to graduate.

POOL PHOTO: BETH NAKAMURA/OREGONIAN - Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday, April 8, that Oregon's schools would continue to stay closed through the end of the academic year. She also cleared the way for seniors to graduate, but probably without the annual ceremony. Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday afternoon that Oregon's public schools would remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 school year.

"School and learning will continue as best as we can using remote means," Brown told reporters during a press conference.

She said the state's continued public health battle with the COVID-19 virus prompted the decision. Brown said the health, happiness and safety of Oregon students were a top priority for her. She added that Oregon's education workforce was typically older and potentially more at-risk to the disease. She said keeping staff safe was also a priority.

The Oregon Department of Education will still provide a pathway to graduation for Oregon seniors. On Wednesday, April 8, Brown announced that all high school seniors who were on track to graduate when schools closed in mid-March would get passing grades for their courses. She said the decision maintained Oregon's graduation requirement. Brown also asked school districts to provide support for students who did not have passing grades in mid-March.

Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill said it was unclear if or when senior events like commencement would take place. "We don't know if those will be able to be held this year," he said. "The guidance we're putting out today does recommend rescheduling those events for when they could be (held)." POOL PHOTO: BETH NAKAMURA/OREGONIAN - Colt Gill, state schools chief for Oregon, talks with reporters at a press conference where Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

He encouraged districts to "be creative" with ways to honor graduating seniors.

Brown also addressed Student Success Act funds, noting that many districts were ramping up to hire more staff with those funds. "We have directed school districts to put those plans on ice," Brown said.

Brown also announced an extension of the executive order for post secondary schools to remain closed to in-person classes through the spring term.

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