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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.

Confirmed Cases: 41739

Reported Deaths: 653
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9055160
Marion5733108
Washington568175
Umatilla334444
Clackamas308165
Lane232627
Malheur190938
Jackson16506
Deschutes111013
Yamhill98515
Linn79815
Polk64815
Jefferson6039
Morrow5436
Lincoln51513
Union4652
Benton4366
Klamath4083
Wasco34715
Douglas3455
Hood River2771
Josephine2633
Columbia2561
Clatsop2410
Coos2360
Baker1143
Crook1032
Tillamook700
Curry571
Wallowa422
Lake340
Harney230
Sherman180
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 903684

Reported Deaths: 17343
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2989376989
Riverside657571279
San Bernardino623531072
Orange583261444
San Diego54314868
Kern33775416
Fresno30590436
Sacramento25264484
Santa Clara24014388
Alameda23215460
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18523241
Stanislaus17572396
Tulare17495286
Ventura14192164
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12069140
Monterey1132189
San Mateo11075159
Santa Barbara9760120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9163134
Kings821883
Solano728674
Marin7057128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo414132
Placer408857
Yolo316658
Butte305952
Santa Cruz277125
Napa194215
Shasta184630
Sutter183712
San Benito143615
El Dorado13154
Yuba129310
Mendocino112421
Tehama8628
Lassen7661
Lake68915
Glenn6573
Nevada6088
Humboldt5629
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador32416
Tuolumne2684
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Del Norte1781
Mono1782
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity260
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
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