The Forest Grove High School. Photo: Brenda Schaffer

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This article was originally published by the Oregonian/OregonLive, one of more than a dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving health issue.

Gov. Kate Brown ordered Oregon schools to remain closed through April 28, extending her previously mandated closure period by four weeks.

“I do not take the decision to extend school closures lightly,” the governor said in a statement emailed out Tuesday afternoon. “This will have real impacts on Oregon’s students, parents, and educators."

But the governor said Oregonians “must act now to flatten the curve” of coronavirus transmissions in order to avoid "a higher strain on our medical system and greater loss of life to this disease.”

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Brown made the announcement hours after the state reported a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, with 19 new presumptive cases bringing the total in the state to 66 as of Tuesday afternoon.

The governor’s latest executive order also calls for the following, according to a summary from her press office:

--Districts must provide learning supports and supplemental services to students and families during the closure period, including meals and child care. This includes providing take-home meals and offering child care for essential health care professionals and first responders.

--School districts may call on teachers and other employees to deliver limited learning and support services while schools are closed.

--Each district will pay all their regular employees during the closure.

--The Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Health Authority, and Department of Human Services will help provide mental health services for students.