Health data pushes in-person dates for Oregon, Wash. counties 

Hood River County School District (HRCSD) is postponing reopening schools for in-person instruction for kindergarten through fifth grade (K-5) students. 

No timeline for reopening school will be announced until at least January 2021, at the earliest, according to district officials.

HRCSD reviewed the ODE updated metrics along with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) weekly county metrics report. Given Hood River County’s case count and test positivity rate over the past two weeks, HRCSD remains in the yellow zone, permitting schools to reopen for K-5 students. That being said, HRCSD recognizes the increase in case count and test positivity compared to last week’s report.

The test positivity rate reported the week of Nov. 13 was the second highest recorded rate in Hood River County since July.

According to the ODE metrics, Hood River County could reopen schools for K-5; however, the increasing rates of COVID-19 cases across the county, state and nation concern HRCSD, particularly as the holiday season approaches. 

“The school district is taking a safe, conservative approach to reopening schools within Hood River County,” Superintendent Rich Polkinghorn said in an email to parents.

HRCSD will continue to prepare for reopening schools for K-5 students, but no timeline for reopening schools will be announced until January.

“HRCSD recognizes CDL is working well for many families and students. HRCSD also knows it is not working well for many others,” Polkinghorn said. 

“School administrators and staff will begin to prioritize students that may return to school for limited in-person instruction (LIPI).”

Through LIPI, HRCSD may bring a small number of students on campus for a limited amount of time to receive the academic and social-emotional support they need. 

LIPI will allow HRCSD to meet the needs of specific students, according to a HRCSD press release. The students invited to participate in LIPI will be prioritized based on the support they need for their individual educational, relational, social-emotional, curricular, instructional, and/or assessment reports. HRCSD will contact specific families and invite their students to participate in LIPI.

The school district’s intention is to start offering this option on Monday, Nov. 30; however, this option will depend on the county’s health data over the next couple of weeks.

Oregon Health Department on Monday reported an additional seven cases in Hood River County.

HRCSD and Hood River County Health Department hosted a family information session on Monday, Nov. 16, via Google Meet. 

Hood River County Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Van Tilburg and Polkinghorn will share about COVID-19 in Hood River County and safety plans for reopening schools. 


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