by Kacie Goff on 2020-04-03 10:53am
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the Pacific Northwest particularly hard. We were one of the first parts of the country to realize the scale and severity of the current situation, and we’ve been shifting to keep ourselves and each other safe ever since. That includes the closure of schools across Oregon.
On March 17, Governor Kate Brown ordered the closure of all schools across the state until April 28. What’s more, Colt Gill, the Oregon Department of Education Director, suggests that schools will likely be closed for the remainder of the year.
State officials are encouraging a shift to virtual education and at-home instructional time in a push they’re calling “Distance Learning for All.” In guidance for that effort, Gill says, “As we continue the effective measures of Governor Brown’s ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ order, we also foresee the strong possibility that our students may not come back through our school house doors this academic year. This calls for a shift from providing supplementary education to a formidable effort to provide Distance Learning for All.”
While this obviously affects primary and secondary students, it also impacts professionals who are required to complete education hours on a regular basis to maintain the appropriate licensure. Specifically, the school closures affect Oregon contractors.
To both get and maintain your Oregon contractors license, you need to complete education. To start, you need to complete 16 hours of pre-license education in order to first get your license. Then, you need to complete a specific number of continuing education hours per two-year renewal period. The number of hours you need to complete vary based on your license type and the length of time for which you’ve had your license.
Historically, you’ve had a few options to complete your required education hours. When you looked at the state’s catalog of approved courses, you had the choice to complete your education either in-person or online. As of now, though, the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) has cancelled all live classes scheduled through May 1 and is recommending that “contractors should not wait for the CCB to reschedule to take their classes. Those contractors who need the 3 hour [Laws, Rules, & Business Practices] LRB to renew their license should take their classes online.”
As we all “Stay Home, Save Lives,” most of us have extra time on our hands. With social gatherings cancelled and a number of economic sectors slowing down or shutting down entirely, you’re likely spending more time in your home or apartment than you did pre-pandemic.
Sheltering at home presents an opportunity to knock the to-do of the required contractor education off your list. Although in-person schools are closed, you can still complete both your pre-license hours and your continuing education online. What’s more, some providers allow you to complete the hours at your own pace. It could be just the thing to add some variety into the long evenings at home.
The only caveat is that you need to make sure you take your hours from a CCB-approved institution. Confirm that the virtual learning provider you choose has the state’s authorization. Then, chip away at your hours over the coming weeks at home and you’ll use the current quarantine to cross this major to-do off your list.