What do the new health metrics mean for Lake Oswego schools?
Although the Lake Oswego School District remains in comprehensive distance learning for now, the district is planning to phase students into the hybrid model — possibly as soon as late November.
Gov. Kate Brown released updated health metrics for returning kids to the classroom last week, which are less strict than the former version.
At the Lake Oswego School Board meeting Monday, Nov. 2, Superintendent Lora de la Cruz briefed the board on the plan to move to a hybrid model once the county meets the new health metrics. In its most recent assessment of the metrics, Clackamas County indicated schools need to remain in distance learning for the next two weeks.
"We are talking about a slow, intentional, phased-in approach," de la Cruz said.
The new metric framework has a two-week "look back" instead of three weeks. That means that the number of positive cases per 100,000 must stay at or below the threshold of 50 for two weeks instead of three.
The new metrics allow districts to incrementally increase access limited in-person instruction beginning with elementary school.
Cohort size for limited in-person instruction has increased from 10 to 20.
De la Cruz said the Oregon Department of Education has learned a lot about how to have safe, regulated environments in schools.
"What we know is that COVID-19 spread can be mitigated at schools," de la Cruz said.
"We all know that the spread is happening in communities and what we need to, as a community, do is, of course, to contribute to keeping our metrics in place."
What does that mean for LOSD?
Nothing, yet. But once the district's two-week look back is in line with metrics, the district will start phasing in its kindergarten students for hybrid learning.
Although all grades, kindergarten through 12th, can't be in hybrid learning until Clackamas County has less than 50 per 100,000 cases, the new metrics do allow elementary schools to open sooner if the metrics are between 50 and 100 cases per 100,000, with a test positivity rate of between 5% and 7.9%.
The hybrid model for elementary students in LOSD means that students would be in school for English/language arts and math for a total of 2.5 hours a day.
Kindergarten cohorts will be between four and 12 students while first through fifth grade cohorts will be between 7 and 15 students.
"Keep in mind that limited in-person exception allows for up to 20 students for two hours," de la Cruz said.
De la Cruz said that once the county meets the metrics, LOSD will begin its phased-in approach.
In the meantime, the district continues to open limited in-person instruction to more students.
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