New Covid regulations make school reopening unlikely

Gov. Kate Brown announces new state restrictions in a news conference in Portland on Thursday, March 12. (Jonathan House/Pamplin Media)

This story has been updated to reflect more accurate numbers.

VALE – School may not be starting in a month.

Gov. Kate Brown announced new guidance Tuesday afternoon, requiring certain metrics of Covid rates in order for schools to reopen. Malheur County does not meet them, and neither does the majority of the state’s other counties.

The state now requires a county case rate of 10 cases per 100,000 residents for three weeks, a county positive testing rate less than 5% for three weeks and a state positive testing rate less than 5% maintained for three weeks.

Now, the county has 178 cases per 10,000 residents and a 17.2% positive testing rate. The state has a 5.2% positive testing rate.

Rural school districts with less than 100 students, like Jordan Valley, will still be able to open, and kindergarten through third grade will still be taught in person because of the high need for in-person education, and the lack of effect of Covid has on children that young. Special education can still be taught on campus, if the county rate of infections is less than 30 cases per 100,000 and the test positivity is less than 5%.

News tip? Contact reporter Aidan McGloin at [email protected] or at 541-235-1005.


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