Physician Mothers Implore Brown, Rollback Reopening So Schools Can Open

More than 150 Oregon mothers who are also physicians wrote Gov. Kate Brown questioning why nonessential businesses such as bars and restaurants can remain open while most public schools will be closed.  

An article from Willamette Week published an excerpt of the letter which states: “It is unconscionable to allow adults the freedom to go to bars, gyms, social gatherings and other nonessential services at the cost of the education and safety of our children.”  

The letter also references an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine titled “Reopening Primary Schools During the Pandemic.” 

The article takes the position that shutting nonessential places is necessary to open schools safely, saying: “The safest way to open schools fully is to reduce or eliminate community transmission while ramping up testing and surveillance … the path to low transmission in other countries has included adherence to stringent community control measures — including closure of nonessential indoor work and recreational spaces.” 

The physician mothers said Brown is trying to return to normalcy safely, but the number of COVID-19 cases in Oregon are rising.  

“Teachers and schools are essential services,” the letter said. “The educational, psychosocial and emotional needs of our children must supersede the need to go to a gym, bar or other nonessential services.” 

Brown’s spokesperson had not responded to a request for comment.  

By Hannah Ramsey