Think Out Loud

Oregon Department of Education makes temporary change to COVID-19 school reopening standards

By Tess Novotny (OPB)
Oct. 5, 2020 3:19 p.m.

Broadcast: Monday, Oct. 5

The Oregon Department of Education temporarily relaxed COVID-19 standards for schools, making it easier for some schools to return to in-person learning. ODE started the school year using two measures — test positivity rate and number of coronavirus cases — to determine whether counties could reopen schools for in-person learning. When wildfires burned through Oregon, medical facilities were unable to process as many COVID-19 tests, which skewed test positivity rates for counties across the state. As a result, ODE decided to temporarily stop using test positivity rates as a measure for reopening. ODE director Colt Gill says it essentially allows schools to reopen that were already on track to do so before the wildfires. We hear from Gill.


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