(Update: Adding comments, news conference video)
'It's safe for them to be in school, so we can't wait any longer'
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- State Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson, R-Prineville, introduced a bicameral, bipartisan bill Thursday that would ensure access to full, in-person instruction Oregon students for the 2021-2022 school year.
House Bill 3399 would direct the Oregon Department of Education to provide 100 percent in-person instruction for the next school year. Chief sponsors include Senator Fred Girod (R-Stayton) and Reps. Christine Drazan (R-Canby) and Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany). Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) is signing on as a regular sponsor, an aide said.
“This past year and a half has been really hard on kids in Oregon. I have seen it first hand with my own boys,” Breese-Iverson said. “We have all the facts showing us it’s safe for them to be in school, so we can’t wait any longer. Hybrid learning has been a start, but fully reopening schools will give them the consistent and dependable schedule of in-person instruction that is so valuable for their learning.”
Girod said, “We know it’s safe to attend school, and we know the negative side effects of distanced learning are unacceptable, so what are we waiting for? We should have made this promise to kids months ago. We have to draw a line in the sand and let parents know they can depend on the public school system next year.”
Drazan said, “We’ve had more than a year of at-home learning, and it’s time to get kids back in school. My family and my community need their schools fully reopened, and our students need schools fully reopened. Their mental health and academic futures depend on it.”
Boshart Davis said, “As a parent, I’ve seen first-hand how the past year of learning has hurt my kids. If we don’t take action now, the long-lasting negative consequences for our kids will only get worse and could last their entire lives. This is our opportunity to stop that from happening.”
The bill is not yet available in the Legislature's system, but Breese-Iverson's office provided this draft legislative concept: