Omicron threatens extracurricular activities in Oregon


Classes resumed Monday for all levels of students

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As the omicron variant continues to send new cases of COVID at record levels and with students returning to school after vacation, the state of Oregon is now recommending the dropping out of extracurricular activities for the time being – and in-person learning is seriously threatened.

It is a recommendation, not a state requirement. School districts have yet to announce what they plan to do.

The concern is that the rapidly spreading omicron may force thousands of school children to stay at home. State health officials have warned that if extracurricular activities are not canceled, “they should expect rapid transmission of COVID which will prevent students from participating in in-person learning.”

If schools continue with extracurricular activities, the same protocols – masking and distancing – must be applied.

Washington health officials said School COVID testing programs are set to ramp up, but they are deeply concerned about what might lie ahead. Most children between the ages of 5 and 11 are not fully immunized in either state.

Finding a place to get tested for COVID is becoming increasingly difficult with such demand. Last week, the state ordered 12 million home test kits to distribute to clinics and hospitals and county health officials. Shipping is expected later this week.

Higher education is considering a hybrid

The University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Portland State University will all have in-person and distance education now that campus activities have resumed.

Administrators said they will continue to monitor COVID outbreaks and current guidelines. OSU and UO require students and faculty to get boosters. The OU requirement is by the end of the month or within 30 days of eligibility. The OSU has not announced a recall deadline.

PSU has a vaccine requirement for faculty, staff, and students. Booster injections and COVID testing will be available at the Center for Student Health.

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