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Southern Oregon schools not required to reduce in-person learning amid rising case rates

The Oregon Department of Education told NewsWatch 12 that climbing COVID-19 case rates in local counties do not necessarily mean that schools will be impacted.

Posted: Apr 27, 2021 1:39 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Despite multiple southern Oregon counties moving to Extreme Risk restrictions on Friday, state education officials say that schools do not necessarily need to reduce their current levels of in-person learning.

Local districts have been transitioning to full-time (or nearly full-time) learning in the classroom over the past several months, after Oregon officials embraced new CDC guidelines to reduce spacing requirements. The Medford School District welcomed back its final group of older students on April 12.

The long process of bringing more students into the classroom started at a time before COVID-19 case rates began rising again, in what Governor Brown has called a "fourth wave" of the virus. Jackson County Public Health said on Tuesday that there were 600 new cases over the last two weeks, marking a case rate not seen since the beginning of January.

Regardless, state education officials said that the rise in case rates won't necessarily require any changes at southern Oregon schools.

"Schools should not reduce in-person instruction or revert to [comprehensive distance learning] based on county metrics if the school can demonstrate the ability to limit transmission in the school environment," said Peter Rudy, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Education.

Even if county case rates rise to a new tier on ODE's chart, the state will not mandate any change. Instead, pausing any further expansion of in-person learning is "recommended."

Schools are also not required to change the classroom spacing requirements even in the higher case rate tiers, and they are allowed to remain with 3 feet of physical distancing instead of the prior 6 feet.

Rudy said that local public health officials can, in cooperation with school district leadership, opt to change physical distancing requirements in response to an outbreak at a particular school.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 206299

Reported Deaths: 2750
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40280614
Washington26740248
Marion23370323
Clackamas18872235
Lane13862162
Jackson11518146
Deschutes998682
Umatilla859287
Linn557280
Klamath477478
Yamhill477379
Polk397755
Douglas385881
Malheur361163
Josephine357572
Benton325422
Jefferson236339
Coos216637
Columbia190829
Union149124
Wasco143830
Lincoln142721
Crook128923
Hood River121933
Morrow115316
Clatsop10449
Baker100915
Curry70111
Tillamook6604
Grant5487
Lake4678
Harney4309
Wallowa1945
Gilliam761
Sherman671
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3806465

Reported Deaths: 63274
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124703324444
Riverside3015434625
San Bernardino2991864811
San Diego2815313771
Orange2729225109
Santa Clara1200322187
Kern1107341402
Sacramento1075601730
Fresno1028671722
Alameda895621272
Ventura816091030
San Joaquin746291438
Contra Costa70478810
Stanislaus633871069
Tulare49799849
Monterey43831421
San Mateo42615581
San Francisco37243556
Santa Barbara34593455
Solano33673266
Merced32284477
Sonoma30825323
Imperial28801741
Placer23477299
Kings23185247
San Luis Obispo21421261
Madera16618245
Santa Cruz16232208
Marin14185229
Yolo14141212
Butte12644194
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10363116
Napa1001480
Sutter9650113
Yuba646451
San Benito610963
Lassen578424
Tehama572763
Nevada490375
Humboldt446248
Mendocino430650
Tuolumne420771
Amador373147
Lake356345
Glenn243027
Siskiyou239337
Colusa228418
Calaveras220156
Del Norte14548
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7366
Modoc5565
Mariposa4657
Trinity4225
Sierra1130
Alpine890
Unassigned400
Medford
Clear
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Brookings
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Crater Lake
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Grants Pass
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