Back-to-school metrics updated

SALEM, Ore. — The State of Oregon updated its rules for allowing students back to school.

The Oregon Department of Education said in August, they put together a list of metrics to make sure when students finally returned to the classroom, it would be in a safe manner. At the time, the metrics were based on what other states were doing, as Oregon was still collecting data locally.

On October 30, ODE announced after further review, revisions were made to allow more in-person instruction while continuing to ensure local conditions guide the process. The new metrics could allow nearly 130,000 students to return to the classroom soon.

“Our updated metrics are based on the latest COVID-19 studies and data, are aligned with CDC recommendations, and bring Oregon in sync with the standards of other states like California,” said Governor Kate Brown. “They also help us meet our priority of returning students to in-person instruction. These metrics still place a very high bar for low case counts to open schools, while at the same time providing more flexibility for our younger students.”

Changes made to the metrics include the following:

  • A clear set of reachable targets for communities to strive for, with a North Star of returning Oregon students to in-person instruction.
  • Acknowledgement that Oregon’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance’s strong public health protocols in structured settings like schools, can greatly reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • Additional time for schools to transition between in-person and distance learning models.
  • Increased access to in-person instruction at the elementary level.
  • A two Week “Look Back” at the Metrics Data rather than one week at a time over a three week period.
  • Removes State Positivity Rate in favor of county positivity rates.

The Oregon Department of Education’s press release with more information on the new metrics is available here.

Governor Brown’s full remarks are available here.

A link to Governor Brown’s press conference is available here.

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