By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Deschutes County last week once again failed to meet Oregon Health Authority metrics to re-open schools, pushing the earliest possible return for students into the first week in November.
The OHA reported 69 cases in Deschutes County last week – or 35.8 cases per 100,000 people.
Counties need to have 30 or fewer cases per 100,000 people for three straight weeks before kids in grades K-3 can return to class.
Bend-La Pine Schools shared the updated metrics with parents in a Facebook post Monday afternoon.
With the clock restarting once again for the county, the earliest possible return to hybrid online/in-person instruction for local students is November 2nd.
The district released the updated information at the same time more than 100 parents and students gathered outside the district’s administration building, demanding their kids get back into the classroom.
Many think the OHA health metrics are too strict and are urging Gov. Kate Brown to take action.
School Board Vice Chairwoman Melissa Barnes Dholakia says the school board will follow whatever guidelines are set by the state.
“We empathize and we hear the frustration, and we understand what a hard time this is,” she said.
After seven weeks of declining cases between July 26th and September 6th, the numbers have shot back up again.
Cases jumped from 20 to 46 the week ending September 13th and up to 70 the week ending September 20th.
District officials last month were ready to jump on the trend of acceptable COVID cases and planned to restart schools in a hybrid model on October 5th.
But the spike put an end to the discussion while the county waits for cases to die back down.