SLSD delays implementing hybrid model

Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 infection and test positivity rates in Lane County and in the State of Oregon, South Lane School District (SLSD) has announced it will not begin its in-person hybrid model which had originally been scheduled to start on Nov. 2.

“We look forward to bringing all students back into our buildings when county and state metrics allow us to do so,” announced the district in a newsletter. “For now, we will continue in distance learning. We will keep you updated about a potential start date for hybrid learning in our weekly newsletter for staff and families (The South Lane Connection Download).”

The Oregon Department of Education allows an exemption for K-3 students to attend in-person classes providing certain metrics are met. Lane County surpassed those metrics during the week of Sept. 13.

To return to in-person instruction, school districts must be in a county that meets certain criteria.

For three weeks in a row, a county must maintain a case rate of 10 cases or less per 100,000 of the population and a test positivity rate of 5 percent or less in the preceding seven days.

Statewide, the metrics must hold at a test positivity rate of 5 percent or less in the preceding seven days, also for three weeks.

So far, Oregon has not yet met the standard. For the week of Oct. 11-17, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported Oregon’s cases per 100,000 at 54.4 and test positivity at 5.8 percent.

Furthermore, Lane County has seen a steep rise in the number of cases.

For the week starting Oct. 11, OHA reported the county as having 77.6 cases per 100,000 and a 8.2 percent positivity in testing.

The trend seems to be reflected locally as well. Lane County Public Health data on Wednesday listed COVID-19 cases as having risen to 65 in ZIP code 97424 and 29 cases in ZIP code 97426.

The school district did not reply to a request for comment on this story. SLSD officials have previously stated they could not speculate yet on what a new timeline might look like.

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