COVID-19: Brown orders all colleges/universities move to online courses

Gov. Kate Brown late Wednesday directed Oregon’s higher education institutions to move their curriculum to online learning, prohibiting in-person classroom interactions through April 28 as a way to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

“I know students have worked hard this school year, and we’re doing everything we can to help them safely finish their learning. But we’re also learning more about this disease every day, and social distancing is key to keeping Oregonians safe,” Brown said. “I understand there are seniors getting ready to graduate this spring, and I want to assure them that our universities and community colleges are working hard to make sure they can get their diplomas.”

The executive order also limits on-campus operations to critical functions, such as dining services and dormitories — all of which are directed to employ social distancing — as a way to ensure students have a safe place to live and eat, since some may not otherwise have housing options.

“Governor Brown’s clear guidance will help Oregon’s colleges and universities statewide to move forward into spring term with the utmost priority placed on the health of our communities, while they continue their educational missions during this extraordinarily hard time,” said Ben Cannon, director of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission. “The students, faculty, and staff who are impacted by these changes should know that the important roles they play in this transformation are all critical to help slow the growth of COVID-19. Shifting almost entirely to remote delivery will help ensure that Oregon’s colleges and universities can continue to prepare thousands of students with degrees and certificates they are working so hard to achieve.”

“In this difficult time, we deeply appreciate Governor Kate Brown’s commitment to help support Oregon students’ progress to a college degree as all of us collaborate to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19,” said Ed Ray, president, Oregon State University.

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