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: 191774

Reported Deaths: 2533
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah38030585
Washington25362229
Marion21859306
Clackamas17262209
Lane12861146
Jackson10739135
Deschutes875974
Umatilla814084
Linn485267
Yamhill442875
Klamath433061
Polk371352
Malheur350461
Josephine331669
Douglas323170
Benton306019
Jefferson217434
Coos205033
Columbia172726
Union144423
Lincoln137120
Wasco137128
Hood River118330
Morrow110115
Crook107620
Clatsop9768
Baker94714
Curry6459
Tillamook6423
Grant5065
Lake4447
Harney3418
Wallowa1825
Gilliam621
Sherman581
Wheeler281
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3760303

Reported Deaths: 62334
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123582824026
Riverside2991734588
San Bernardino2966554707
San Diego2781823725
Orange2708005008
Santa Clara1189322086
Kern1090521373
Sacramento1044911676
Fresno1017291682
Alameda876371546
Ventura809051011
San Joaquin731741391
Contra Costa68638806
Stanislaus620081056
Tulare49579839
Monterey43595382
San Mateo41903568
San Francisco36669543
Santa Barbara34323456
Solano32864250
Merced31821459
Sonoma30002318
Imperial28388722
Kings22977246
Placer22610291
San Luis Obispo21293260
Madera16444242
Santa Cruz16238206
Marin14040228
Yolo13897209
Shasta12110226
Butte11985199
El Dorado10141113
Napa985781
Sutter9421111
Yuba625346
San Benito605663
Lassen570124
Tehama556362
Nevada473675
Tuolumne412966
Mendocino407249
Humboldt398040
Amador365547
Lake347143
Glenn238225
Colusa223216
Siskiyou220523
Calaveras212553
Inyo142838
Del Norte13808
Mono12804
Plumas7106
Modoc4984
Mariposa4477
Trinity4005
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned390
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