Judge denies motion by Oregon schools to reopen in-person

August 21, 2020 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge denied a proposal by three Christian schools in Oregon that wanted to reopen for in-person learning this fall, finding Gov. Kate Brown’s regulations on schools during the coronavirus constitutional.

The attorney for the three schools urged U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman to grant a temporary restraining order that would have halted the governor’s order.

“We want to be treated the same as universities and daycare centers,” said John Kaempf, representing Horizon Christian School, Life Christian School and McMinnville Christian Academy.


The state argued that health concerns take precedent and that the temporary limitations on in-person instruction is necessary because of the risk to public health.

Gov. Brown issued an executive order on June 24 that allowed in-person learning at public and private K-12 schools only if it they met guidance issued by the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education.

That order was extended by a subsequent one that allowed public and private schools from 4th grade to 12th grade to open for in-person instruction once the state experienced 5% or fewer cases statewide for three consecutive weeks. The school’s county has 5% or fewer cases; and there are 10 or fewer new cases per 100,000 people in the county.

For K-3 schooling to resume, the county must show positive coronavirus cases of 5% or less and report fewer than 30 new cases per 100,000 people for three consecutive weeks. They must also have zero confirmed cases among school staff or students for 14 days prior to reopening, The Oregonian reported.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.