Updated Oregon School Metrics Allow More Students to Return to In-Person Learning

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released updated school metrics that allow for more Oregon students to return to in-person learning.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced the changes Friday, October 30th at a news conference, stating the updates to the school metrics are necessary. She argued the benefits students receive from in-person learning in schools outweigh the risks of COVID-19.

“COVID is here to stay. It’s here to stay for the foreseeable future,” Brown said. “What’s also clear is we must prioritize getting our students into the classroom for in-person instruction.”

The ODE and OHA issued the first school metrics in August. The updated metrics released Friday took account for school districts country-wide and aligned with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new metrics are based on the latest COVID-19 studies and data, bringing Oregon in sync with other states like California. They will be taken into effect immediately and potentially allow about 130,000 Oregon students to return to some form of in-person learning.

According to ODE, updates for the statewide metrics include:

  • A transparent set of realistic goals for communities to strive for in regards to in-person instruction.
  • Acknowledgment that Oregon’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance’s strong public health protocols are structured in school settings, can greatly reduce transmission of the coronavirus.
  • Additional time for schools to transition between in-person and remote learning models.
  • Increased access to in-person learning at the elementary level.
  • A two week “Look Back” at the metrics data rather than a single week at a time over three week periods.
  • Removes State Positivity Rate in favor of county positivity rates.

As a state, one of the biggest priorities we need to recognize is getting students back to in-person learning. Schools act as a center of service for students and families, offering meals, access to mental health support and resources, and physical health services.

The new metrics allow all school districts, with regards to local public health, to make final decisions about when schools can move to in-person learning and instruction.

According to the updated metrics, the following counties are eligible for K-12 students to return to some form of in-person learning:

  • Baker
  • Clatsop
  • Curry
  • Gilliam
  • Grant
  • Hood River
  • Jefferson
  • Josephine
  • Klamath
  • Lake
  • Lincoln
  • Sherman
  • Tillamook
  • Union
  • Wheeler

The following counties are eligible for elementary education students to return to some form of in-person learning:

  • Benton
  • Clackamas
  • Columbia
  • Coos
  • Deschutes
  • Douglas
  • Polk
  • Wallowa

The following counties are not yet eligible for in-person learning:

  • Crook
  • Harney
  • Jackson
  • Lane
  • Linn
  • Malheur
  • Marion
  • Morrow
  • Multnomah
  • Umatilla
  • Washington
  • Yamhill

Agent Website Photos-KristaThis blog post was written by Krista Pham, our intern.

The article that inspired this piece can be found, here.