August 18, 2020 | Ready, Set, GO: Final State Guidance for School Reopenings in COVID-19

Education and health care experts discuss newly updated plans for school re-openings. Learn how to make the most of the online learning experience, consider school-by-school challenges and opportunities and explore strategies for ensuring safety and equity.


Rep. Rachel Prusak has over 20 years’ experience in nursing across a multitude of settings, including 12 years as a family nurse practitioner. She currently works for Housecall Providers where she provides primary care, palliative care and hospice care to the homebound and chronically ill members of her community. She was previously an ambassador for the National Health Service Corps where she was dedicated to serving families in rural areas of the country with limited access to care. Rachel serves as vice chair of the Healthcare Committee and serves as a member of the Task Force on the Resolution of Adverse Healthcare Incidents where she brings her public health lens to the issues at hand. She also chairs the Access to Primary Care Work Group which will develop a set of policy considerations for the legislature in its effort to achieve universal access to adequate level of high-quality health care at an affordable cost.

Rep. Prusak can be reached at


Dean Sidelinger, M.D. took over as Oregon’s State Health Officer in September 2019 following a tenure at the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency that included roles as deputy health officer and child health medical officer. Sidelinger earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and his medical degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California. He also has experience in academia — he was an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, from 2003 to 2007.

Dr. Sidelinger can be reached at

Colt Gill was appointed by Governor Brown as Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction (and as such serves as the Director of the Oregon Department of Education), and he was confirmed by the Senate on February 12, 2018. He served previously as Oregon’s first Education Innovation Officer. In this position, he focused on improving graduation outcomes by working with local communities, school districts, researchers, students, and other stakeholders to identify effective practices and make recommendations regarding policies, budget priorities and supports needed to increase the number of students who graduate prepared for work or college. He has been an Oregon educator since 1989. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon and has served on many boards and commissions relating to education and children’s health and wellness initiatives.

Director Gill can be reached at:

Liz Owens Boltz, Ph.D. is an assistant professor and co-director of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program at Michigan State University. The MAET program supports educators as they integrate technology creatively and purposefully in their teaching and learning. Liz has been teaching in online, hybrid, and overseas formats for 7 years, and has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology from Michigan State University.

Dr. Boltz can be reached at:



Jamie Vandergon, LPC, is president of Trillium Family Services, where she oversees community-based and residential programs across the state of Oregon. Over the past 14 years, she has held progressively higher leadership positions within the agency. She began her career working in community-based children’s mental health programs at Johns Hopkins Hospital and initially began working for Trillium Family Services in 2002 as a school-based Child & Family Therapist. She holds a Master of Science degree in Psychology from Loyola University in Maryland, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Oregon.

She can be reached at:

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