PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the omicron variant continues to send new COVID cases to record levels and with students back in school after the holiday break, the state of Oregon is now recommending extracurricular activities be dropped for now — and in-person learning is under serious threat.
It’s a recommendation, not a requirement from the state. School districts have not yet announced what they plan to do.
The worry is that rapidly-spreading omicron may force thousands of schoolkids to stay home. State health officials warned that if after-school activities aren’t canceled, “they should expect rapid transmission of COVID that will prevent students from participating in in-person learning.”
If schools continue with the extracurriculars, the same protocols — masking and distancing — need to happen.
Washington health leaders said in-school COVID testing programs will ramp up but they’re deeply concerned about what could lie ahead. Most children between 5-11 are not fully vaccinated in either state.
Finding a place to get tested for COVID is becoming increasingly difficult with such high demand. Last week the state ordered 12 million at-home test kits to be distributed to clinics and hospitals and county health officials. The shipment is expected some time this week.
Higher education plans a hybrid
The University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Portland State University all will have in-person and remote classes now that campus activities have resumed.
Administrators said they will continue to monitor COVID outbreaks and current guidance. OSU and UO require students and faculty to get boosters. UO’s requirement is by the end of the month or within 30 days of becoming eligible. OSU has not announced a booster deadline.
PSU has a vaccine requirement for faculty, staff and students. Booster shots and COVID testing will be available at the Center for Student Health.