Educators and students react to in-person classroom learning mandate

Educators and students in Lane County react to Governor Kate Brown's executive order mandating Oregon public school students to return to classrooms.

Posted: Mar 6, 2021 5:16 PM
Updated: Mar 7, 2021 8:13 AM

LANE COUNTY, Ore.--Educators and students showed mixed reactions to Governor Kate Brown's executive order on Friday mandating Oregon public school students to return to the classrooms.

"It came as a bit of a shock," Kelly Middle School teacher Imelda Cortez said. "I want to be back with my kids in the classroom but it's just not the same this year."

Cortez said she's erring on the side of caution.

"Until we have herd immunity, people aren't going to feel safe coming back," Cortez said. "While I may be fully vaccinated, my husband won't be fully vaccinated, my kids won't be fully vaccinated."

But Springfield High School teacher Scott Touchette said he's ready to go back to in-person classrooms.

"I know I want to see the kids. I'm a hands-on learner. I'm a hands-on teacher," Touchette said.

Touchette's son Thomas Touchette is a senior at South Eugene High School. 

"I'm just ready to get some sense of normalcy back," Thomas Touchette said. "I'm tired of sitting at my desk my three hours listening to the teacher."

South Eugene High School head baseball coach Danny Sales said he agrees with Governor Brown's executive order.

"Kids are at home right now. But sometimes life at home is not as good as what it could be at school," Sales said.

Brown's directive said grades K-5 must return to full in-person or hybrid instruction by the weeks of March 29th and for grades 6-12 by April 19th.

“The science is very, very clear: with proper safety measures in place, there is a low risk of COVID-19 transmission in school. Oregon parents can be confident about sending their children back to a classroom learning environment,"Brown said.

The state may go back to distance learning if COVID-19 transmission rates require it. Distance learning also remains an option for parents and students who do not feel comfortable with on-site instruction yet.

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