Sweet Home schools will now be closed through April 28, along with all other public schools in the state, following an executive order issued Tuesday, March 17, by Gov. Kate Brown.
Brown had earlier closed schools through March 31. All high school athletics and other extracurricular activities were also suspended through March by the OSAA, which governs such activities. As of Tuesday evening, the OSAA had not responded to the latest closure.
“This action is intended to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect Oregonians at the highest risk of contracting the disease,” Brown said in her order. “I also recognize that school closures disproportionately impact Oregon’s most vulnerable children and families,” but “action is necessary to minimize disruptions…on Oregon’s health care system, first responders, and emergency workers.”
Brown’s order ensures that schools will continue to receive funding during the closure, “so employees will not be laid off and vital services, including meals for students, can continue,” Sweet Home Supt. Tom Yahraes said in a posted statement.
He said the district will continue to offer:
· meals for students at the Foster and Sweet Home High School;
· health/medical resources and information for families via cistrict nurses and family support personnel; and
· distance continuous learning opportunities.
“Schools are essential to communities,” Yahraes said. “We know that extending the school closure will cause difficulties for many families who rely on their schools for meals, health care, and a safe place to be during the day.
“Since the COVID-19 coronavirus first emerged in Oregon, we have followed the guidance of our public health agency partners, including the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education, in taking preventative steps to make our staff and students safe.”
Yahraes urged local residents to follow health guidelines such as regular handwashing and social distancing. He discouraged students from congregating with others.
“We still have time, as a community, to slow down the spread of coronavirus by working together,” Yahraes said. “We are in uncharted waters, but please know that the Sweet Home School District, in collaboration with local and state authorities, is doing its best to support our broader community as the reality of this unprecedented crisis continues to evolve.”