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Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s ‘pandemic policies’ directed toward Oregon’s families and children have parents pushing back against her overreach. The debate on politicians dictating executive orders forcing children to wear masks and mandating vaccines has heated up in school districts throughout the country. But no area has seen more heated rhetoric from state leaders than Oregon. As reported in, Brown’s mandates and demands are in direct conflict with her promises to leave the details to local school boards: “Gov. Kate Brown’s decision last month that students, staff, and teachers must wear masks inside schools has generated school board diatribes, apparent schemes to sidestep the law and intense parental pushback. Critics complain that the mandate, as well as last week’s announcement that teachers and staff must be vaccinated, go against Brown’s promises of leaving much of the safety specifics to school boards and their local health authorities.”
Alsea School District Superintendent Marc Thielman was called out by the governor when he sent a letter out to parents spelling out other available options they could take to secure an exemption for their child.
Excerpts from Thielman’s letter: HERE WE GO AGAIN. This Covid ride just keeps on rolling, but not even the threat of the pandemic can prevent the power of the Alsea School Spirit. As most of you know today, Governor Brown has expanded her mask mandate to all public indoor spaces, as a means of slowing the spread of the Delta Covid variant. Regardless of anyone’s personal perspective and/or position on the efficacy of masks, the Governor has the legal authority to implement this mandate. For us here in schools, this is not the news we were hoping to hear as the new school year draws near. I really appreciate the large number of parents and patrons who have reached out to me directly regarding the use of masks in schools, and for sharing all your concerns/sentiments, some in support and many more against. The most common question that has come up is, “Will my child have the option to not wear a mask?”
On its face, the Governor’s order Does Not allow for students to “Elect” to not wear a mask, and the Oregon Department of Education is requiring school staff to enforce this mandate under penalty of fine, investigation, ethics violation, and potential loss of licensure. I would be remiss if I did not communicate this federally mandated right to all our parents/guardians and inform them of their option to request an accommodation regarding the mask mandate for their student. The Alsea Charter School has consistently met all our families where they are at, and worked to build strong partnerships buttressed by high levels of trust, care, and compassion. I see the Section 504 option as a lawful and compliant means for accommodating parents, and students who have deeply held concerns about the potential negative impacts of mask-wearing at school.
The Voice of a Nation welcomes Alsea Superintendent and Gubernatorial Candidate Marc Thielman to the program. Thielman is now focused on succeeding Governor Kate Brown in 2022. We’ll talk to Marc about the governor’s mandates, the letter, and his desire and goals to become Oregon’s next governor.
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