When Can ACA Students Return to Campus? Weekly Updates.

Madalena Larkins 

The Charter News

Last Updated: 12/01/20 at 11:35 A.M.

On October 30th, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced updated metrics for returning to in-person instruction, and at a recent board meeting, Oregon City School District superintendent, Larry Didway, extended Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) until at least January 5th. 

This means that ACA will not be able to offer in-person instruction until January 5th, at which point Covid-19 case and positivity rates will be assessed and in-person instruction can begin when required metrics have been met. The chart below gives an idea of how close Clackamas and Multnomah counties are to meeting the updated requirements. 

At a glance: In person classes may be allowed when the red squares are green.  

This chart is updated weekly as soon as new information is available.


 “Our updated metrics are based on the latest Covid-19 studies and data, and are aligned with CDC recommendations, and bring Oregon in sync with other states, like California,” said Brown during a press conference announcing the updated metrics, “they also take us closer to our goal of returning students to in person instruction.” 

Brown did acknowledge, however, that even with the loosened requirements, that most of Oregon’s students (about 80%) will not be able to return to campus yet.

“Clackamas County is not in a position at this time (case positivity is rising and is the highest it has ever been for Clackamas County) for us to move forward in our reopening framework,” said ACA’s Director, Seanna Bloemer on Nov. 6th, “We are hopeful we can begin to move forward with our Framework in January, but it all depends on what happens these next two months.”

The new statewide guidelines require counties with 30,000 or more residents (which includes Clackamas and Multnomah counties) to meet the following metrics, over a period of two weeks: counties must have less than 50 cases per 100,000 people, and have less than 5 percent of tests coming back positive to offer onsite learning. 

Counties with both between 50 and 100 cases per 100,000 people and test positivity between 5 and 8 percent may offer a combination of onsite and distanced learning, which will prioritize elementary school students. Counties with between 100 and 200 cases per 100,000 people and positivity rates of 8 to 10 percent will be in the “Transition” phase, and must maintain distance learning for the time being. Counties with more than 200 cases per 100,000 people must remain in comprehensive distance learning. 

Schools that draw students from multiple counties must meet required metrics in counties in which they draw more than 10 percent of students and staff. For ACA, those counties are Clackamas and Multnomah. Schools must also be in a county that is no longer in the baseline stage of reopening to offer onsite instruction. 

“The vast majority of our students will not be able to return to class,” said Brown during the October 30th press conference, but “for those districts that cannot yet return to in person instruction, the metrics will serve as a guide post for where we need to get to so we can return our students to the classroom in a safe manner.” 

Sources:

Featured image: Map adapted from Wikimedia Commons, COVID-19 data courtesy Oregon Live. 

“ACA Framework for Reopening 2020-2021.” Alliance Charter Academy.

https://alliancecharteracademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ACA-Framework-for-Reopening.pdf. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020.

Bloemer, Seanna. “Re: Article About the loosened requirements for reopening schools.” Received by Madalena Larkins, 6 Nov. 2020. 

Clackamas County. “State metrics for opening all public and private schools.” Nov. 2 2020. https://www.clackamas.us/coronavirus/school-information#metrics  

Accessed 6 Nov. 2020. 

Manning, Rob., Ross, Erin., Vanderhart, Dirk. “Despite rising COVID-19 cases, Oregon eases rules for students to return to campus.” Oregon Public Broadcasting. Oct. 30 2020. https://www.opb.org/article/2020/10/30/despite-rising-covid-19-cases-oregon-eases-rules-for-students-to-return-to-campus/ Accessed 6 Nov. 2020. 

“School Metrics Data, Weekly Monitoring Periods.” Oregon Health Authority. https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Emerging%20Respitory%20Infections/Weekly-County-Metrics.pdf  Accessed 6 Nov. 2020.