PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Most students in Oregon will not be entering classrooms come the fall, according to guidelines and metrics released by Governor Kate Brown on Tuesday.
Brown outlined new metrics that must be met in order to resume in-person learning, including hybrid instruction models, which is when students are only sometimes in the classroom.
The metrics for individual counties, which must be met three weeks in a row, is 10 or fewer cases per 100,000 people over 7 days and/ or a test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days. Statewide, the metrics that need to be met three weeks in a row is a test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days.
“I am absolutely unwilling to lose an entire school year for our kids,” Governor Brown said. “I will push, I will cajole, and I will demand nothing but excellence from our districts and from our educators.”
Brown said she is allocating $28 million to public schools for help boosting distance learning curriculums and technology.
“Today in Oregon we are not where we need to be to safely reopen schools,” state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said during Tuesday’s press conference. He said statewide right now, there were about 50 cases per 100,000 residents and the test positivity was nearing 5%.
According to the new guidelines, in-person instruction can resume only for K-3 students and remote and rural school districts with fewer than 100 students, if these conditions are met:
- Fewer than 30 cases per 100,000 over 7 days
- Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days
- COVID-19 is not actively spreading in the school community
- School districts are in compliance with sections 1-3 of Ready Schools, Safe Learners Guidance
Schools that do resume classes will need to plan to switch to distance learning if there are 20 or greater cases per 100,000 over 7 days and/or test positivity of 7.5% or greater over 7 days.
All school districts must implement comprehensive distance learning if there are 30 or more cases per 100,000 over 7 days and/or a test positivity of 10% or greater over 7 days.
Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill and Oregon Early Learning Division Director Miriam Calderon also spoke at Tuesdays’s press conference.
In early June, the state released its fall guidelines called Ready School, Safe Learners. The guidance provides concrete requirements and recommendations so schools — closed since early April because of the pandemic — can determine what’s best for their schools. The guiding principals of the plan include 4 main goals: ensure safety and wellness, cultivate connection and relationship, center equity and innovation.
The ODE released the guidelines but schools across the state have to come up with a blueprint for reentry. There are certain requirements to determine how students can be taught: on-site, through comprehensive distance learning or both.