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Local school officials await word on fall classes, content with state’s approach to rural Oregon

State and education officials are satisfied with the state’s announcement recently that Malheur County school districts will independently decide when to reopen schools in the fall, but they remain uncertain how the upcoming school year will look.

On June 2, Colt Gill, director of the Oregon Department of Education, wrote a letter in response to two letters from state and education officials that expressed concerns about the state possibly reopening schools at a statewide level, without noting the differences in COVID-19 outbreak severities in eastern Oregon counties or including area schools in the planning.

In the letter, Gill clarified that the decision wouldn’t be made on a statewide or countywide basis due to the differences in coronavirus impacts at the local levels.

State Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, who wrote one of the letters to Gill with state . . .