SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning View Alerts

Rising cases force schools in Klamath County to roll back transition to in-person learning

Oregon's new metrics allowed Klamath schools to up their in-person learning, but the latest surge in COVID-19 cases has put a halt to the transition.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 10:26 AM
Updated: Nov 20, 2020 10:27 AM

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — At the beginning of November, both the Klamath County School District and Klamath Falls City Schools gave the green light to bring more students back into classrooms on a hybrid model.

The transition became possible after Governor Kate Brown and state education officials released new, more relaxed coronavirus metrics for schools — removing the statewide test positivity requirement and allowing local districts more flexibility. But a county-level metric remained, now measured in two-week increments.

For many Oregon counties with relatively low case rates, Klamath included, this meant that a return to school from grades above K-3 was finally possible. But with a statewide surge in cases now reaching practically everywhere, that brief respite is at an end.

Superintendent of Klamath Falls City Schools, Paul Hillyer, sent out a letter to families and staff on Friday, noting that Klamath County is now in the "red zone" by exceeding 200 cases per 100,000 over the past two weeks.

"This means we must return all students to comprehensive distance learning on Monday, November 20," Hillyer wrote. "In order to return grades K-6 to in-person learning, the county would need to reduce new case numbers over the next two weeks and bring our status down to the yellow or green zone."

The earliest that this could happen, Hillyer noted, would be the week of December 7. Grades 7-12 would not be able to see in-person learning until four weeks after grades K-6.

A similar statement came from Klamath County School District Superintendent Glen Szymoniak, leading with the message his district received from Klamath County Public Health.

“It is with disappointment that I find myself writing this email tonight," wrote KCPH assistant director Jessica Dale. "As of close of business today (Nov. 19), we had received enough positive test results for this week to know that when numbers post for the two week lookback on November 23, our rates will exceed 200 per 100,000. As a result, schools will need to return to comprehensive distance learning on Monday November 30, 2020.

"While the return to hybrid learning models for expanded grade levels was short lived this time around, it was undoubtedly beneficial for both the schools and the students. It is such a pleasure to work with all of you and your staff as we continue to pursue the safe return of in person education in Klamath County."

Dale note that schools with K-3 in-person learning prior to the transition, or small rural and remote schools, might be able to continue under those models, depending on the outcome of case investigations for some of the latest cases.

KCSD is on a break next week for the Thanksgiving holiday, so there will be no immediate change on Monday. But presumably, due to the two-week periods noted in by KFSD's Hillyer, it will be at least another full week before many students could possibly return to in-person learning.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 206851

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40371614
Washington26781248
Marion23425323
Clackamas18932235
Lane13908164
Jackson11535146
Deschutes1001882
Umatilla859387
Linn561181
Yamhill478279
Klamath477678
Polk399356
Douglas388483
Malheur361463
Josephine360672
Benton326522
Jefferson237039
Coos216637
Columbia192129
Union149924
Wasco144430
Lincoln143021
Crook129223
Hood River121633
Morrow115416
Clatsop10589
Baker101115
Curry71011
Tillamook6604
Grant5507
Lake4678
Harney4339
Wallowa1945
Gilliam801
Sherman671
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3809710

Reported Deaths: 63356
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124774424456
Riverside3016684627
San Bernardino2992894845
San Diego2818103771
Orange2730575113
Santa Clara1201632188
Kern1107991404
Sacramento1078211736
Fresno1029471724
Alameda896591277
Ventura816611031
San Joaquin747271440
Contra Costa70730813
Stanislaus634971070
Tulare49776849
Monterey43836432
San Mateo42681581
San Francisco37269556
Santa Barbara34613455
Solano33762266
Merced32313478
Sonoma30884317
Imperial28855741
Placer23589299
Kings23195247
San Luis Obispo21421261
Madera16638245
Santa Cruz16246208
Marin14206230
Yolo14160212
Butte12668194
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10396116
Napa1002680
Sutter9663113
Yuba648951
San Benito610963
Lassen578424
Tehama573463
Nevada491975
Humboldt449948
Mendocino434050
Tuolumne421271
Amador374047
Lake356345
Glenn243427
Siskiyou239637
Colusa228418
Calaveras220756
Del Norte14588
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7366
Modoc5585
Mariposa4657
Trinity4225
Sierra1160
Alpine890
Unassigned280
Medford
Partly Cloudy
92° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
92° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 89°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
92° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 89°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
83° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 81°
Numerous Tuesday Thunderstorms
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events