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C.O. students may not get back to classrooms this fall

Bend-La Pine Schools return to school

Metrics released; most students will learn from home, or have 'hybrid' classes

(Update: Bend-La Pine Schools interim superintendent comments)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Under new COVID-19 metrics released Tuesday, students in most Oregon counties may not be able to return to their classrooms this fall, officials said.

In order for a school district to commence any form of in-person learning, the county must have 10 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days, Gov. Kate Brown said during a news conference. In addition, the countywide and state test positivity rate must be 5% or less over the span of a week.

“Currently, in Oregon we are not where we need to be to safely reopen schools,” State Epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger said.

In the past week, case rates across Oregon were about 50 per 100,000 people, and the state’s test positivity is approaching 5%.

“Our current case rates are higher than they need to be and higher than they were in other countries that began to reopen schools,” Sidelinger said. “But, we can suppress COVID-19 and return to levels where we reopen schools.”

Following Brown’s announcement, Oregon’s largest school district, Portland Public Schools, said that it will have online classes only until at least Nov. 5.

In addition, Beaverton, Salem-Keizer, North Clackamas and Tigard-Tualatin districts also said they will be holding classes online.

Bend-La Pine Schools also "would likely not be able to reopen" for in-person classes as planned, said Interim Superintendent Lora Nordquist in an online update.

Instead, we would provide comprehensive distance learning for all students, with the possibility of some in-person instruction for students in K-3.

"We understand that this shift would cause hardships for many families," Nordquist wrote. "While our district, teachers, and staff want nothing more than our students’ full return to school, we must consider the safety and well being of all involved and follow the guidance from state education and health leaders."

"We need the help of the community," she added. "Deschutes County needs to make significant progress towards reducing COVID-19 spread in our community, before we can transition to in-person learning."

Sidelinger said at this time there is only one county -- Wheeler -- that meets the criteria for reopening school with in-person instruction, if the statewide positivity rate remains below 5%. But there are some exceptions to the state metrics.

For kindergarten through third-grade classrooms and rural school districts with fewer than 100 students — the metrics are looser.

In these cases, in-person instruction can begin if there are fewer than 30 cases per 100,000, and if COVID-19 is not actively spreading in the school. They must still have a positivity rate of 5% or less.

Based on these exceptions, 13 counties would be eligible for in-person learning — if the state positivity rate remains under 5% — Sidelinger said.

The new metrics for school reopening came as the Oregon Health Authority reported a record number of COVID-19 related deaths in a single day — 14. The previous record was nine.

Dr. Patrick Allen, the director of the Oregon Health Authority, described the increase in deaths as a “stark reminder of the work all Oregonians need to do to bring this pandemic under control.”

The total amount of confirmed and presumptive cases in the state since the start of the pandemic has surpassed 17,400. At least 303 people have died. Of the state’s total positive cases, more than 2,400 are among people younger than 20.

On Monday, hundreds of Oregon teachers held a car caravan protest in Salem, calling for no in-person classes until counties report 14 days of no new COVID-19 cases. The nation’s largest teachers union on Tuesday authorized its members to strike if their schools plan to reopen without proper virus safety measures.

Students who do return to the classroom will be required to wear masks, along with teachers and school staff. Last week, the Oregon Department of Education announced that it was allocating $5 million to distribute face masks to school districts to meet the requirement.

“Closing schools in the spring was one of the most difficult decisions I have made in the pandemic,” Brown said. “As COVID-19 continues to impact both our urban and rural communities, it’s been clear that this school year will not look like any other school year.”

Health officials said younger students get the virus at lower rates, get less sick, and spread the virus less than older students and adults. However, if cases surge, schools that have reopened will be forced to close again.

News release from Gov. Kate Brown:

Governor Kate Brown Releases School Health and Safety Metrics

Metrics set strict health and safety standards for in-person instruction, with accommodations for young learners, remote and rural schools

(PORTLAND, OR) -- Given the reality that COVID-19 will continue to impact Oregon students, schools, and communities throughout the 2020-21 school year, Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday released new metrics to guide school district decisions about when it is safe to resume in-person instruction, and when a transition to comprehensive distance learning is necessary.

"The metrics released today will give our public schools, private schools, and communities the opportunity to make sound decisions based on the latest science and health data," Brown said at a livestreamed news conference. "They make a clear connection between the spread of the disease in a community, and statewide, and when a school may resume, or must halt, in-person instruction. 

"We are taking a cautious and careful approach that protects public health, just as we have over the past five months in responding to this disease. If we don’t do this right, then the impacts of COVID-19 on students and the very functioning of our schools could deepen existing disparities in opportunity and outcomes for our children, and widen racial and socioeconomic inequality in our society."

Oregon school districts are currently developing plans for the coming school year using ODE’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance. The following metrics were developed by doctors and health experts at the Oregon Health Authority, working with education experts at the Oregon Department of Education and the Early Learning Division.

In-Person Instruction or Hybrid Instruction Model: All Grade Levels and School Districts

In order to resume in-person instruction in any form, including hybrid instruction models when students are only sometimes in the classroom, the following conditions must be met:

County Metrics (Must be Met Three Weeks in a Row)

  • 10 or fewer cases per 100,000 people over 7 days
  • Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days

Statewide Metrics (Must be Met Three Weeks in a Row)

  • Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days

In-Person Instruction or Hybrid Instruction Model: K-3 Students and Remote and Rural School Districts

Under some conditions, in-person instruction can resume only for K-3 students and remote and rural school districts with fewer than 100 students.

Younger students get the virus at lower rates, get less sick, and spread the virus less than older students and adults, Brown and health officials said. Younger students also need more in-person instruction to build the literacy and math skills critical for lifelong learning.

Schools in remote and rural communities are less likely to contribute to the community spread of COVID-19 cases that cannot be traced and contained.

The following conditions must be met for in-person instruction for K-3 students or for remote and rural students:

  • Fewer than 30 cases per 100,000 over 7 days
  • Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days
  • COVID-19 is not actively spreading in the school community
  • School districts are in compliance with sections 1-3 of Ready Schools, Safe Learners Guidance

Transition Planning for Comprehensive Distance Learning
For school districts where in-person instruction is occurring during the school year, planning for a switch to comprehensive distance learning should take place, including training for staff and notification of the community, if one or both conditions are met:

  • 20 cases or greater per 100,000 over 7 days
  • Test positivity of 7.5% or greater over 7 days

Comprehensive Distance Learning
All school districts must implement comprehensive distance learning if the following conditions are met:

  • 30 or more cases per 100,000 over 7 days
  • Test positivity of 10% or greater over 7 days

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.

Districts across the state have been developing plans to provide high quality education to all students, including students of color, low-income students, students experiencing disabilities, and rural students––all students who were disproportionately impacted by the institution of comprehensive distance education last spring.

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.

A recording of the governor’s press conference is available here.

A full transcript of the governor’s remarks is available here.

Updated guidance will be posted to

Coronavirus / Education / News / Top Stories

The Associated Press

KTVZ news sources



    1. Thank you for the post and link! It would miracle if everyone in America would follow the science. It would save so many precious lives, kids could go to school and we could have sports again!

      1. Just another Karen. You are such a good follower, yes you are, such a good Karen. You will likely get a scooby snack for your shameless obedience to you lead lemming.

      2. “It would miracle if everyone in America would follow the science.”

        That includes you ! The OHA data don’t lie- ILI (now CLI for political purposes) remains below the 1.5% threshold for ED visits- has been that way since March 17th. This demonstrates the “actual” active levels of Influenza like illness that real people are feeling “ill” or sickened by… these ED visits have resulted in more than 350,000 “negative” tests… so it ain’t covid- but what is it ?

        We know now that hospitals are actively fudging documents to promote corona-covid-wuhan for financial reasons… in effect skewing the data as of June ! You can see this in the data also.

        1. Kaylee McNinny: “we don’t want science to get in the way of schools opening”
          too dangerous in Jacksonville for big fat failing donnie’s little nomination party, but perfectly safe for schools there to open. ROFLMAO!!! Soooooo much winning!!!
          “China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus,” Trump tweeted on Jan. 24. “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

          “[g]reat discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation.”

          “I don’t talk about China’s transparency,” he told a reporter who referenced his tweets, speaking over her attempt at a follow-up question.
          “The virus is way down and will be gone soon”

          “its just one person coming in from China, we have it totally under control, everything is going to be just fine”

          “Its all a hoax to make look bad before the election”

          “Hyrdoxychloroquine will be the greatest game changer in the history of medicine”

          “We will have a vaccine very soon”

          “I didn’t know the flu killed people”

          “anyone who wants a test can get a test”

          “The virus will go away, like a miracle it will be gone”

          “the federal government has tremendous control of the virus”

          It’s contained”
          “When you have 15 people. And the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done,”

          “Americans can sleep better at night because North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat”

          “he wrote me a beautiful letter and we fell in love”

          Golf and a whore anyone!!! trump putin 2020!!!! HELSINKI PROUD!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!

          Soooooooo much winning sweetie!!! YOU LOSE AGAIN!!! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!

      3. Or the other reality that so many choose to deny – if America was really and truly following the science school and sports would be fully open this fall. is it just your version of science that is correct?

    2. Maybe if you identified yourself we could consider believing you. Meanwhile, a mother mourns the death of her child tonight in one of the many cities with democratic leadership. Very sad :(.

        1. That is what you got out of that comment???? So the fact that the recent dead kids were in cities of whose leadership? You are correct, it is very sad.

    3. LMAO! Experts and Scientists? It’s a HOAX! Why shouldn’t they play rugby in a stadium full of people when there is no “Pandemic?” It is a HOAX!

      1. Excellent point !

        NZ has a death per 1 million population rate at 4 ! Small island nation surrounded by high ventilating winds- now winter- where exactly is this “pandemic” ?

        The real danger of the Wuhan virus is in the wild eyed gloom and doomers that congregate in like minded locations like here… Imagine if this site was allowed to completely run ga-ga with the sole likes of the liberal loons that Z21 seems to attract. “This” is part of the reason Oregon is not in single digits for death rates per 1 million.

  1. I can’t trust the public because there are too many stupid people out that believe this is all just lie. I can’t trust the schools because they have to hold the children of those stupid people and because the school systems don’t have the money to affectively deal with this even if stupid did not exist. My child will be staying home.

  2. If My children aren’t going back to school then I want a significant property tax rebate to pay for the schooling I will need to provide as well as the day care in between. If all my property taxes were refunded it wouldn’t cover a third of the cost for even one of my school age children.
    Well, if schools aren’t going to reopen then we certainly don’t need all them teachers on the payroll. Unemployment has worked for everyone else….
    Administrators and such….nope.
    We do need essential personnel,janitors and maintenance folk for building preservation, these buildings are dear indeed by what I have to pay for.
    Either keep schools open suffer the consequences as it should be for any business that closes. And, let me be clear, public education is a business, to be sure. The cost is huge and always mounting and the work product is declining relative to both years past and world wide norms.
    Schools cost obscene amounts of money for a few buildings and grounds.
    Everyone seems to benefit except the reason for the whole exercise,the children.

    1. Do you even know a teacher? They don’t want to die and can help you teach your kids on line. How many pilots would there be if planes kept falling out of the sky?

      1. Teachers can make that decision for themselves. But they should not continue to be paid for a job they are not doing. If they are not working then they go on unemployment or find a different line of work.

          1. And your constant personal attacks should be deleted as “offensive”- or the moderator needs to chastise you like he does the more respectable writers here so often- we can all agree- the Mod needs to rein you dopes in- or continue to turn this site into a shout-fest of name calling.

            So skrew you ya loudmouth- take yer schoolyard bully tactics and get out !

              1. Much as I never agree with your evil alter-ego, judging from the way your censor pen has been working of late, you are a fine one to be letting the word “logic” pass your lips.

        1. I would explain that they are the people teaching your children online, but something tells me a child with your genes would be incapable of developing any sort of intelligence.

      2. But if you ask, most teachers would say that they are essential workers. What a joke that they don’t want to die, they don’t want to work.

        1. “most teachers would say that they are essential workers.”

          Th fake pandemic is proving otherwise- home schooled- internet classrooms are all the rage- teachers are milking the system at their own risk.

      3. So the teachers are all going to get sick and die if school opens? Even if the kids aren’t carriers? Even if… – there are so many reports from “experts” saying this is safe to do – but you won’t be able to “hear” it through the level of fear that has been instilled.

      4. I don’t want to die either but I gotta go to work every day or I won’t get a paycheck. I too would like to cry out in the name of safety but I’ve been having to go into work everyday. Why are some lives more valuable then others? Now on top of working full-time outside my home I will have to be a teacher.

    2. So schools she reopen even if the consequences are your children getting sick or their teachers? Since you want your taxes back if schools don’t open, perhaps you’d be ok with giving teachers danger pay if the schools do reopen.

      1. Schools have always been ground zero for influenza like illnesses- teachers know this comes with the territory- but attacking the school system full of kids- a population deemed not at risk- seems beyond irrational- that level be ‘Kate Brown irrational” !

    3. spoken like a true socialist!!! LMAO!!!
      “China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus,” Trump tweeted on Jan. 24. “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

      “[g]reat discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation.”

      “I don’t talk about China’s transparency,” he told a reporter who referenced his tweets, speaking over her attempt at a follow-up question.
      trump putin 2020!! LYING-DYING and DENYING!!! HELSINKI PROUD!!!

  3. She already deided to make it political….cdc or anybody else be damned. My grandkids no longer are a part of the oregon public schools, and several other people I know pulled their kids from the rosters as well. Notice she isn’t squalling like a leppy calf “LET ME BE CLEAR” to Trump

  4. “Our current case rates are higher than they need to be and higher than they were in other countries that began to reopen schools”

    Sooo- clearly the state’s strategy and response to date is flawed- and Brown and associates are finally looking to other countries that are back at school and displaying “deaths per 1 million population” in single digits… So why doesn’t Kate and her minions just come out ad admit- she’s botched this response from day one.

    Even now- this focus on schools is bogus ! Global medical professionals have clearly stated- children are not part of the “at risk” population- yet there goes Kate- Keeping schools closed- forcing parents to stay home- away from work- destroying the state economy- so she can point fingers at everyone but herself !

    She’s a dangerous fool- no concept of leadership- using “lag time indicators” to determine when the state is ready to open back up… “that” philosophy has been emphatically proven wrong for decades !

    Sign the recall- boot her out !

    1. So which states have been successful in their response? The republican states like Texas and Florida? The great response but the big Orange Baby?

        1. The curve was flattening on it’s own before the lock down. The lock down was unnecessary! It was a political ploy to destroy the economy in an attempt to out a sitting President and his administration

            1. The OHA reported to the offices of Kate Brown that the cases of the Wuhan Corona virus had dropped 5% in the days before she made the decision to destroy the Oregon economy.

              Maybe it’s time for you to drop out f the conversation- you clearly can’t keep up.

      1. Read it again Capt Oblivious !

        “clearly the state’s strategy and response to date is flawed- and Brown and associates are finally looking to other countries that are back at school and displaying “deaths per 1 million population” in single digits”

        The President continues to have no authority at the state level- no matter how how you try to spin it- this is all on Brown- who is now just “looking” at successful nations without implementing their strategies- that is negligence in the first degree !

  5. Oregon’s democrat governor holds kids hostage in political protest to try and influence the presidential election. Same with the teachers…their union is very leftist. Amazing how they won’t have school until 2 days after the election. No doubt the virus will disappear on that date.
    Stop the nonsense. Have parents sign waivers if the want their kids to go back to school.

      1. Based on some simple math there is a 99.99% chance you will NOT die from COVID. Stop the ridiculous nonsense and look at the data. Total fear mongering for political purposes.

          1. I dunno- maybe little Jimmy’s Grandma (being part of the at risk population) should make the personal decision about whether or not she needs to see little Jimmy- base that decision on the same process for if little Jimmy had the seasonal flu or a cold.

            I know dozens of Grandparents right now who couldn’t give a tinkers dam about this virus- many feel that they will not be the ones being scape-goated or taking the blame for Kate Brown’s asinine responses… and that’s what you are doing with “poor little Jimmy’s Grandma” !

          2. Rolling the dice? Sorry my friend but little Jimmy’s grandma still has a much higher chance of firing from thousands of other items other than COVID. If we are going based on “data and science “ like everyone states then the kids should be back in school full time. If we go based on living life in fear due to watching and reading to much mainstream media then we should shut everything down for the foreseeable future and pretend no one will die from shut down related causes. Ugg. The idiocy is amazing.

      2. Quit denying the science- teachers in CO have a better chance of being killed in an auto accident then from Corona-covid-Wuhan Bat Joe Flu !

      3. All of us who don’t live in the government dole go to work and “risk our health” to provide for our families. If teachers don’t want to come back to schools because if health concerns they shouldn’t be forced to but they also shouldn’t be getting paid to sit at home

    1. I’m told an official said as of now, only Wheeler County, with no cases, meets the guidance, but it’s complex. (I did fix the last link in the release, where you can get to the matrix report but it doesn’t have such a list.

      1. Huh Barney? The article states 13 counties meet the guideline for K-3 students. The Article says K-3 OR rural districts with less than 100 students. Doesn’t have to be K-3 AND rural.

        1. That is on top of the 28 other counties deemed to have met the state guidelines for re-opening by an independent agency just a few days ago.

          Our journalists are failing us big time- they whine on and on about how they have a special place in the constitution to “protect” the people- get to the bottom of things- save the citizens from their evil government… So why can’t KTVZ demand a sit down with this witch and ask her the hard questions- where is the pandemic ? Why do you keep moving the goalposts ?? how mush longer to people have to suffer through unemployment-school shutdowns-mental stress… when the OHA data clearly shows the virus left town in March !

          These are your “Enemy of the People +1” !

  6. Deschutes county has a population at nearly 200,000. Which means Deschutes county schools should be good for K-3 grades for Browns “standard” at current rates it looks like. (can be up to 60 per day to keep K-3 in classes?). But doesn’t meet for all others, max can be 20 per day in deschutes county for the rest of students to be able to attend in person school.

    1. wait… after re-reading it.. it has to be equal to or less than 30 cases for 7 days COMBINED (not per day) for K-3 student. That is utter BS.

    2. to add to the last post…. for K-3 students to go back, can only have 60 new cases in an entire 7 day period (not per day)…… so deschutes county has to be at 8.5 new cases per day just for K-3 to get back into in-person classes. unbelievable.

        1. I’m not collecting unemployment anymore, but thanks for asking. I did take advantage as I started collecting unemployment when the extra $600 a week kicked in and stopped collecting unemployment right when the $600 extra a week ended.

    1. “That” is the failed strategy being implemented in Oregon and other Demokkkrat governed states- it’s not what the CDC guidelines for re-opening state !

      Demand more from Brown- she’s got a death grip on the state- and she really couldn’t give a tinkers damn.

    2. This problem will not go away until after the election in November or until there is a certain amount of immunity. It is a virus and a virus will mutate, as this one already had done, to change itself to stay alive – kind of like the flu, that is why the flu shot does not always work.

    3. Stick your head a little bit farther down into the sand. People are wearing masks and distancing and the cases are and will never be in the foreseeable future at the required level.

    1. No no no… It’s 10 per 100,000 over 7 days COMBINED. That means only 1.4 new cases PER DAY. Even with a vaccine THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Brown is out of her ******* mind!

  7. Teachers..get paid a good salary, have benefits, yet only work 8 to 9 months a year, complain about needing more money. And now they dont want to return to work because they might get sick. Online school will take care of the unnecessary teachers. One teacher can reach hundreds of students with online school. Downsizing is a must. Give taxpayers back their money.

  8. …and the goal posts have been moved again, this is insanity.

    School age children are the least at risk as are most teachers and administrators.

    The physical, emotional and physiological costs for these kids being out of school is far greater than this virus…so sad.

  9. I used to get upset at the vitriol and stupidity expressed in all these comments but I decided to just read them for entertainment now. We seem to be at a very Darwinian moment in history and it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the long run. Does the anti Vax, flat earth, everything is a hoax crowd get proven right or do they all die off? Only time will tell. Fascinating times.

    1. Right now your race to the bottom has Demokkkrat strongholds like New York- New Jersey- Massachusetts- California- all leading the US in either cases or deaths per 1 million population… are those the “anti Vax, flat earth, everything is a hoax crowd” yer talking about ???

  10. This should come as no surprise. Unmasked Kate never had any intention of reopening schools this Fall. And the teachers union would rather sit at home with full pay than work under the guise of their “health risks”. Let them at home with no pay and their tune would change in a minute

  11. Oregonians can shop in packed box stores, fly in small capsules with recirculated air for hours, dine in restaurants, vacation, exercise inside gyms, purchase marijuana and alcohol at your leisure, protest by thousands anywhere in the state, but when it comes to the MOST Essential service to the health and well being of our state and future, schools are not allowed to open?!?! Online school is a joke and will always be a joke. This state has been failing in education for decades and this just goes to show where the real priorities are from Salem. If you think this is about the “Safety” of our children and teachers than you are part of the problem with this state. Look at other countries that have gone back to in-classroom teaching for months now and see the results they are having. The vast majority of those countries are having success. They have the disease present in their communities just like us but they can figure out how to actually educate their children successfully while mitigating the exposure.

    1. “Look at other countries that have gone back to in-classroom teaching for months now and see the results they are having. The vast majority of those countries are having success.”

      You are right- keep sending that message- cause it adds fuel and clear evidence that the US response at the state levels is completely flawed.

      I’ve seen these schools in action- their risk mitigation is no different than what the CDC is promoting- but goes completely ignored by Kate Brown… I will say it again- she is not in line with CDC re-opening guidelines ! Anyone can look up the document themself- read through it- and go “OK- I get it”… but why doesn’t she ???

      She has a political agenda- and it’s killing the state ! Sign the recall petition- Remove her now !

  12. The real science and data to safely open schools is out there along with local therapists who are concerned over the repercussions of keeping kids at home for school. Online schools are not for every student and can cause children to get further and further behind academically. Many children, school is their only safe haven from abuse and place to eat. This is 100% political now and very obvious how the democrats want to destroy everything using their “experts” and made up data. Kids have a higher chance of dying from the flu (more childhood deaths from flu than COVID). 99.9% survival rate – let’s start using common sense, get all students back in the classroom full time, address any staff members who have health issues that puts them at risk. Shutting schools will be very dangerous – more deadly than the virus. I’d like to see KTVZ actually interview medical professionals in our area. How many children in Deschutes county have tested positive? Pros and cons to every side.

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