Return to Headlines

"Extreme risk" level: What it means for SPS


How might Lane County's "extreme risk" designation affect SPS teaching and learning?

Overview + what it means for SPS

Lane County is set to move back to the “extreme risk” category on Friday, April 30, after positive Covid-19 cases have been on the rise for the past few weeks. The change in county risk designation does not directly affect schools or school schedules.

Public school districts in Oregon are required to follow positive case-based guidance defined by the Oregon Department of Education developed in conjunction with the Oregon Health Authority. As part of the state guidance, school districts are encouraged to maintain current in-person learning if it’s already in place stating that schools “should not reduce in-person instruction or revert to comprehensive distance learning based on county metrics if the school can demonstrate the ability to limit transmission in the school environment.”

Metrics breakdown

Public elementary schools have the option to limit in-person learning if positive case levels reach more than 350 positive cases per 100,000 people over the course of 14 days. However, when cases are below that threshold, public elementary schools are required to offer either on-site or hybrid learning options.

The guidance for middle and high schools is slightly different and provides schools with the option to switch to comprehensive distance learning to limit transmission, if necessary, when county case levels reach more than 200 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days (a slightly lower threshold).

Schools are not required to switch to comprehensive distance learning at any point except potentially on an isolated school-to-school basis to curb transmission. This decision would be made by district staff as recommended by district health professionals. Under current guidance, SPS likely would not return to district-wide remote learning.

As of April 28, Lane County Covid-19 case rates had reached 214 cases per 100,000 and a 3.5 percent test positivity rate.

To learn more about the specific metrics or view the metric guidance, visit