June 21, 2016
Melissa Navas, 503-378-6496
Governor Brown Directs Action to Address Environmental Health in Oregon Public Schools
Parents and students must be assured greater transparency and accountability, Governor says
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today issued the following statement regarding her directive to the Oregon Department of Education to take action to ensure school districts and public charter schools fulfill, with greater transparency, their responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of students in school facilities.
The draft rules will be presented at the Oregon State Board of Education meeting on Thursday, June 23.
View the draft rules for the Healthy and Safe Facilities Plan in documents A, B, and C. A public comment period will be open until Aug. 17. A public hearing on the rules will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 2 in room 251A/B of the Public Service Building, 255 Capitol Street NE, Salem, OR 97310.
“Every child has a right to learn in an environment that is safe. Any threat to the health and safety of a child in any school or classroom is unacceptable.
“Key state agencies are continuing their coordinated response to address lead exposure and other health concerns in schools. Local school districts and public charter schools also have the obligation to ensure transparency and accountability to parents and communities. That is why I have initiated broader action to ensure standards for health and safety are upheld in every Oregon school, and local educators regularly make that information available to the public.
“This week, the State Board of Education will take the first step in requiring every school district to develop a plan for health and safety assessments in their school facilities. Each school district would be required by rule to submit a Healthy and Safe Facilities Plan to the Oregon Department of Education this fall. School districts would also be required to report annually – and to the public – on the findings of their assessment, including any testing, results, and ongoing monitoring pursuant to the plan.
“I am committed to ensuring Oregon school children have opportunities to thrive at school and that we are best preparing them for future success.”
View joint guidance about lead in drinking water from the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education.