Brown to announce COVID metrics that will determine decisions on in-person learning

Parents wondering about a return to the classroom for their kids this fall can now look to COVID case counts and other data for their answer.

Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday plans to announce a set of health and safety metrics for school districts to use in determining whether it’s safe to reopen classrooms.

COVID cases and the COVID test positivity rate per capita – county and statewide – will set requirements for when districts can return to in-person instruction or whether COVID spread is so prevalent that a fully online experience is warranted.

Brown will be joined by Director Colt Gill of the Oregon Department of Education, Director Miriam Calderon of the Oregon Early Learning Division, and Dr. Dean Sidelinger from the Oregon Health Authority.

Oregon school districts are busy creating their own blueprints for a return to the classroom as part of the ODE’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance.

That guidance included requirements for mask wearing, social distancing and sanitization efforts in schools. But now, specific data will be added to the mix in a district’s ultimate decision.

The OHA working with the ODE and the Early Learning Division, has developed the set of COVID-19 metrics for school district operating decisions for the 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 said. “With more time for school districts to develop a planned response to COVID-19 for the coming school year, Oregon schools will be expected to work to address the diverse needs of students and their families and provide the best possible education for every Oregon student.”

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