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A teacher sits in a classroom. Students are in the background, watching and listening
The union representing Portland teachers is asking the district to reduce in-person learning hours for students in order for teachers to have more planning time. Portland Public Schools

Happy Free Ticket Tuesday! As a thanks for reading The Mercury, we’re giving out free tickets to see The Moth, Jake Shimabukuro, and Sebastian Bach. Enter to win here!

In local news:

• Governor Kate Brown has called a special legislative session in an effort to address protections for Oregon renters. The session will start December 13 as the state battles a funding crisis within its emergency rental assistance program.

• The Portland Association of Teachers, the union representing Portland Public School teachers, is proposing “asynchronous” Fridays—days where students learn independently at home—for high school students starting in January 2022. According to union reps, teachers could use the Fridays to plan, which has been near impossible to do during normal working hours throughout the pandemic. The district, however, is skeptical of the possible cuts, arguing that students of color and students learning English as a second language would suffer the most from the lack of in-person teaching.

• “Under any scrutiny the Reuben is an assault on good sense, composed of overwhelmingly intense ingredients that were supposed to get Romanian peasants through unforgiving winters at a time when half a head of cabbage was expected to feed a family of 27.” Good sense be damned, because Ben Coleman has an ode to the Reuben—and where to find the best one in Portland—here!

• Portland City Council will vote whether to approve an accelerated funding timeline Wednesday for a new program to protect vulnerable Portlanders during the next heatwave. The program, run by the Portland Clean Energy Fund, aims to distribute portable heat pumps to 15,000 homeowners and tenants over the next five years.

In national and international news:

• Three students are dead and several more are injured after a student opened fire at Michigan High School in Oxford, Michigan, today. A 15-year-old sophomore student was taken into custody by the local sheriff’s office. Two wounded people are undergoing surgery and six others are in stable condition as of 5 pm EST.

• Hold onto your hats folks, things are about to get interesting:

• The stock market took a tumble Tuesday as investors weigh how the new COVID-19 omicron variant may impact people’s return to offices and other pandemic-related behaviors. As a reminder, we don’t know much about the new variant and the best thing to do right now is to get vaccinated, boosted, and continue masking.

• An advisory panel for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 13-10 to recommend emergency authorization of a pill to help treat COVID-19. The pill, made by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, can reduce someone’s risk of COVID-19 death by 30 percent, according to FDA studies. The FDA will now consider the recommendation before making a ruling on whether or not to authorize the pill.

• Greece announced Tuesday that everyone 60 and older must get vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-January or face a monthly fine of 100 euros. Greece is the second country in the EU to institute a vaccine mandate. Earlier this month, Austria announced it would require the entire adult population to get vaccinated by February or pay up to 3,600 euros.

• And finally, here is some peaceful beaver footage to finish off all that news. Don't forget to take some deep breaths!