COVID-19 Updates: More Schools in Oregon and Washington Switch to Distance Education

The COVID-19 virus.

OPB

Oregon health officials reported on Monday that 18,538 new confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 were identified over the weekend.

The state has a positive test rate of just over 22% as the highly contagious variant of omicron spreads. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 rose to 692, but hospitalizations were still about 40% below their peak during the delta variant’s summer surge.

The number of COVID-19 positives patients on ventilators was down until five days ago, according to state data. At this point, the number of fans started to increase sharply, going from a low of 27 on January 5 to a high of 53 on January 10.

This is still about a quarter of the number of COVID-19 patients needing ventilators during the peak delta wave last year.

Health officials have diagnosed 47,272 cases of the coronavirus in the past week, three times more than the week before.

Eighteen new deaths from COVID in Oregon were announced on Monday.

Several Portland-Vancouver area school districts announce distance learning plans

Several school districts in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area have announced plans to move some or all schools to distance learning schedules as an increase in COVID-19 infections is keeping educators and students at home. They include all schools in the Parkrose School District and some schools in the Portland, Tigard-Tualatin and Vancouver school districts.

In Tigard-Tualatin, after a day of district-wide teacher planning on Wednesday, Tualatin and Tigard High Schools, and Fowler, Hazelbrook and Twality Colleges will switch to distance education on Thursday and continue through to end of next week. The district previously moved Durham Elementary to distance education earlier this week.

The Parkrose School District does not have classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, all students will begin temporary distance learning. The Parkrose District in northeast Portland had reported that an average of 20-30% of its students were absent last week and staff absences reached 25% in some cases.

In Portland public schools, Faubion School said it will be closed on Tuesday and switch to distance education on Wednesday until at least the end of this week. It joins four other PPS campuses – Cleveland, McDaniel and Roosevelt High Schools and Ockley Green Middle School – which have already returned to distance learning as of Monday due to high student and teacher absences. . These closures will also last at least this week.

Forest Grove High School announced Monday evening that, with 18% of staff and 32% of students absent, this would put in-person learning on hold until at least January 21.

Vancouver Public Schools made the following announcement Monday evening:

As we continue to respond to the omicron COVID-19 variant that is rapidly spreading in Vancouver public schools, staffing remains one of our most critical challenges, especially given the impact of absent staff. due to illness / quarantine. We do not have enough bus drivers to transport all of our students in our current format, so there is a need to set up a temporary schedule in which some of our schools will switch to four days of distance learning in the three next weeks. We are sorry for the impact on your child (ren) and your family. This schedule could be adjusted if our numbers increase or decrease. We hope that full-time in-person learning for your child (ren) will resume in February. Please watch for weekly updates.

See The full VPS distance learning program here. And scroll below for more school changes announced earlier.

Oregon women’s basketball game against Arizona state postponed

Oregon’s game against Arizona State, originally scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within the Arizona State women’s basketball program.

Both schools and the Pac-12 conference will work to reschedule the game and the new date will be announced once finalized.

The Ducks are scheduled to host Arizona at 2:30 p.m. Saturday before facing Connecticut at Matthew Knight Arena at 2 p.m. on Jan. 17.

Oregon’s February Legislative Session to be Open to the Public

The Oregon Capitol will remain open to the public when lawmakers meet on February 1 for a month-long session.

In a joint statement on Monday, Senate Speaker Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek announced that while all Legislative Committee meetings in the next 2022 session will be held virtually, the public will be permitted to enter the building.

Kotek and Courtney released an earlier statement last week expressing concern over the omicron variant of COVID-19 and the disturbing projections by doctors at Oregon Health & Science University. The two Speakers of the Oregon Legislature clarified their position on Monday.

“We are committed to ensuring that the legislative process is accessible and secure during the next session,” the statement said. “The recent spate of cases and hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant is worrying. After speaking directly with infectious disease physicians and public health officials at OHSU, we decided to move our committees to a virtual format. “

Residents of Oregon will be able to enter the Capitol during normal business hours and can watch legislative debates from the galleries of any of the chambers on the third floor.

Read the full story: Oregon Capitol to remain open during February legislative session

Omicron’s surge challenges schools, transit and business operations across Oregon

As the omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads across Oregon, schools and businesses are scrambling to stay open with fewer healthy people.

Ashland High School announced Monday that it will switch to distance education until January 31. Elsewhere in southern Oregon, schools choose not to go online despite increase in the number of cases and absences.

Schools in Grants Pass and Medford are demanding masks on campus, enforcing social distancing and have put in place test programs to stay. In the Grants Pass school district, 144 students and staff are in quarantine. In the Medford School District, more than 200 people are isolated at home.

Over the weekend, administrators at four Portland public school campuses – Cleveland, McDaniel and Roosevelt High Schools and Ockley Green Middle School – announced they would return to distance learning starting Monday due to absences of students and teachers. The closures will last at least this week.

In the Tigard-Tualatin School District, Durham Primary School is switching to distance education this week, officials said on Sunday.

And in central Oregon, the Jefferson County school district announcement that it close the Warm Springs K-8 Academy campus. Trustees said the decision was not due to absences, but “to be good partners” with the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs.

The omicron surge is also impacting some public services, including transportation. Portland-area transit agency TriMet will be moving 20 of its 84 bus lines to less frequent service starting Monday due to a driver shortage.

Read the full story: Oregon schools struggle to stay open as omicron spreads

This is a developing story. Watch for updates throughout the day.

The Associated Press and Sophia Prince of Jefferson Public Radio contributed to this report.