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Gov. Brown, state officials outline new COVID-19 metrics for schools

Governor Brown and officials from Oregon's education and health agencies held a press conference to discuss the new coronavirus metrics for schools throughout the state.

Posted: Jul 28, 2020 1:45 PM
Updated: Jul 28, 2020 6:32 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown and officials from Oregon's education and health agencies held a press conference Tuesday to discuss the new coronavirus metrics for schools throughout the state — guidelines that will determine whether individual districts can move forward with in-person classes this fall.

"Based on these metrics, with the increasing spread of COVID-19 in both rural and urban Oregon this summer, many, if not most, Oregon students live in school districts that will begin school in the fall by focusing on online distance learning or will have a hybrid model that combines remote online education and in-person classroom time," Brown's office said.


WATCH LIVE: Gov. Brown holds press briefing on school COVID-19 metrics


Brown heralded the metrics in a statement on Monday, saying that both county and statewide COVID-19 data would determine "when it is safe for in-person instruction to resume," or when schools will have go online-only.

"The plan each public district adopts for the coming school year is, and remains, a local decision," Brown said in reference to the first round of state guidance provided to districts in June. "And yet, in the time since then, the virus has continued to spread — and we must follow clear public health metrics to know when and where it is safe for school to convene inside school buildings."

Among the metrics announced on Tuesday is a requirement for the rate of positive COVID-19 tests to remain below 5 percent at both the state and county level. The state dipped below that level just last week following three weeks in a row above 5 percent, according to the weekly testing report from the Oregon Health Authority.

"Today in Oregon, we are not where we need to be to safely reopen schools," said state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger. "Case rates over the last week were about 50 per 100,000 statewide . . . our test positivity is approaching 5 percent. Our current case rates are higher than they need to be, and are higher than they were in other countries when schools reopened. But we can suppress COVID-19 and return to levels where we can reopen schools — we did it before, we'll do it again."

Oregon has not consistently met those case metrics since the end of June, Dr. Sidelinger said. As things stand currently, one county in the state would meet all metrics to reopen with in-person instruction, 13 others would be close, and many others are trending in the right direction.

Under the metrics, however, there will be several different levels of allowed in-person learning depending on the rate of positive cases and overall test positivity in an area — including ones that would see younger children and rural students stay in school while other students are relegated to online-only.

Multiple officials underlined the importance of having children in classes for their well-being, but said that the safety of adults in the community is also a major concern. Oregon Department of Education director Colt Gill called in-person learning his agency's "highest priority," but depends on the promise of a safe return to school for both students and educators.

"Opening schools is not a one-way journey," Gill said, stressing that the whole community needs to support educational advancement with health behaviors such as safe distancing, washing hands, and wearing face coverings.


'Ready Schools, Safe Learners' COVID-19 metrics at-a-glance

In-Person Instruction or Hybrid Instruction Model: All Grade Levels and School Districts

In order to resume in-person instruction in any form, including hybrid instruction models when students are only sometimes in the classroom, the following conditions must be met:

  • County Metrics (Must be Met Three Weeks in a Row)
    • 10 or fewer cases per 100,000 people over 7 days
    • Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days
  • Statewide Metrics (Must be Met Three Weeks in a Row)
    • Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days

In-Person Instruction or Hybrid Instruction Model: K-3 Students and Remote and Rural School Districts

Under some conditions, in-person instruction can resume only for K-3 students and remote and rural school districts with fewer than 100 students. Younger students get the virus at lower rates, get less sick, and spread the virus less than older students and adults. Younger students also need more in-person instruction to build the literacy and math skills critical for lifelong learning. Schools in remote and rural communities are less likely to contribute to the community spread of COVID-19 cases that cannot be traced and contained.

The following conditions must be met for in-person instruction for K-3 students or for remote and rural students:

  • 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

Transition Planning for Comprehensive Distance Learning

For school districts where in-person instruction is occurring during the school year, planning for a switch to comprehensive distance learning should take place, including training for staff and notification of the community, if one or both conditions are met:

  • 20 or greater cases per 100,000 over 7 days
  • Test positivity of 7.5% or greater over 7 days

Comprehensive Distance Learning

All school districts must implement comprehensive distance learning if the following conditions are met:

  • 30 or more cases per 100,000 over 7 days
  • Test positivity of 10% or greater over 7 days

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details from the press conference as they emerge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314841

Reported Deaths: 3624
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah51325643
Washington35086277
Marion32748396
Clackamas26680275
Lane24145248
Jackson21050257
Deschutes16703103
Umatilla12736125
Douglas10795188
Linn1051487
Josephine8685169
Yamhill752099
Klamath651892
Polk629171
Malheur485567
Benton463728
Coos420669
Columbia325439
Jefferson315347
Lincoln277930
Union274838
Wasco242339
Crook213639
Clatsop213225
Tillamook182023
Baker176123
Morrow168621
Curry167817
Hood River163435
Harney82319
Grant7848
Lake6988
Wallowa50811
Gilliam1374
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4651497

Reported Deaths: 68087
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144634825870
Riverside3583834802
San Diego3502674021
San Bernardino3475745507
Orange3150815355
Sacramento1507202105
Santa Clara1407321841
Kern1362881521
Fresno1361631889
Alameda1164051330
Ventura978991120
San Joaquin975341615
Contra Costa95858924
Stanislaus808921235
Tulare73111896
San Mateo52311607
San Francisco52008605
Monterey49485565
Solano44247312
Santa Barbara43189500
Sonoma39476378
Merced39446536
Placer36612364
Imperial34285755
Kings30179285
San Luis Obispo28351313
Madera21749263
Butte21379231
Shasta20763279
Santa Cruz20176211
Yolo19192239
Marin17127242
El Dorado16037127
Sutter13122153
Napa1228795
Yuba928061
Nevada850185
Humboldt831988
Tehama827784
San Benito709567
Mendocino691176
Lassen637927
Tuolumne616993
Lake605887
Amador493059
Glenn399030
Siskiyou391541
Calaveras342766
Del Norte339034
Colusa291018
Inyo166739
Mono14935
Plumas12406
Mariposa100712
Trinity72610
Modoc6278
Unassigned2120
Sierra1980
Alpine1000
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