Testing Rate Needs To Drop Below 5% For Oregon Schools To Open

Governor Kate Brown said on Tuesday that if Oregon sees a statewide positive coronavirus testing rate of 5% or less for three consecutive weeks, none of the state’s public school students will be allowed to return to classrooms.  Brown and Oregon health officials announced metrics for county-wide school re-openings, including the possibility of children from kindergarten to third grade receiving in-person instruction while other students used distance learning.  State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger outlined the metrics that would allow for a return to classrooms, which at a statewide level requires a positive COVID-19 test rate drop below 5% each week for three consecutive weeks, while at the county level the number of cases needs to drop below 10 per 100,000 residents in a week for three consecutive weeks.  Sidelinger did point out that evidence indicates children under the age of 10 get the COVID-19 virus and transmit it at a lower rate, so there are exceptions to the metrics for that age group, along with districts with less than 100 total students and provisions for limited on-site learning to those with disabilities.  Sidelinger said the state isn’t where it needs to be right now to open schools, but there are signs of transmission rates beginning to decline.  Brown said she was establishing a $28 million emergency relief fund for school districts to help with costs related to COVID-19.

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