State Relaxes Virus Standards, Allowing Thousands of Students to Return to Classroom

Tens of thousands of Oregon elementary school students could be headed back to the classroom this fall after the state adopted new, substantially more flexible COVID-19 safety standards Friday.

It’s a major change that could reopen classrooms to younger students in many districts, including in Clackamas County, by lowering the benchmarks by which Oregon measures whether schools may conduct in-person classes.

But for students in Portland and other more densely populated areas of the state, and for middle school and high school students in most of Oregon, remote learning will remain the norm. Infection rates are generally too high in 12 of Oregon’s 36 counties to qualify for reopening – even under the liberalized standard.

And even students in Clackmas, Deschutes, Benton and other counties that are now green-lit to allow elementary students back may not return to classrooms any time soon. The decision is left to school district leaders.

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