Portland Daily Round Up: Oregon could get rid of 2-week quarantine for students, OEA says school districts having issues

Emily Scarvie

(Kenny Holston/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Friday, Nov. 19 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Oregon working to get rid of two-week quarantine requirement for kids exposed to COVID-19 at school

Oregon education officials are working on a “test-to-stay” program that would prevent kids who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school from having to quarantine for two weeks. Under this model, a child who comes into close contact with COVID-19 in school would be immediately offered a test, which would be paid for by the state. If the child tests negative, they would stay in school and be tested again after seven days. If the second test comes back negative, they would remain in school.

“That will further reduce or nearly eliminate quarantines for our students,” Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill told KGW.

In the meantime, all children ages 5 to 11 are eligible for Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination clinics are popping up across the state. On Thursday, Providence Health & Services, alongside the Portland Timbers and Thorns FC, hosted a vaccine clinic at Providence Park, administering vaccines to 325 children.

To find a vaccination clinic in Oregon, click here.

2. Problems at Reynolds Middle School highlight statewide issue, Oregon Education Association says

After Reynolds Middle School made the decision to move back to remote learning due to behavioral issues on campus, the Oregon Education Association said this mirrors a trend they’re seeing statewide at other schools.

“This move back to online learning in Reynolds School District highlights a problem that is being felt in every school district in the state," the OEA's statement reads. "Our schools do not have the staff and the supports to ensure healthy or safe learning environments for our students. Now is the time our community and state leaders need to come together and work with educators to make much needed investments in Oregon’s students and ensure they have access to the resources they require to thrive.”

Teachers in other Oregon school districts have echoed similar sentiments. Daniel Jacobs, a seventh grade language arts and social sciences teacher at Roseway Middle School in Portland, told FOX 12 that the pandemic has impacted the social and emotional skills of students.

“Providing additional mental health supports for students, creating safe spaces, providing more staffing that can really help build that rapport and relationship with students and provide them with a safe, academic and social environment,” Jacobs said.

3. PDX ups security after increase in catalytic converter thefts around airport

After an increase in catalytic converter thefts, PDX has upped security around the airport and parking areas. This year alone, the airport has seen 67 catalytic converter thefts, mirroring an increase in thefts of this kind around the Portland area.

The Port of Portland has increased security patrols, closed an exit of the employee parking lot so visitors can’t walk in, added lighting and put up signs that advise people to report anything suspicious.

A new state law goes into effect next year that prevents scrap metal shops from being able to buy catalytic converters from anyone other than commercial sellers or the owner of the car it came from. Officials hope this will prevent future catalytic converter thefts.

4. Oregon Food Bank hit with supply chain issues

Due to COVID-19 outbreaks at several manufacturers and labor shortages across the country, the Oregon Food Bank has reported receiving fewer donations this year. The Oregon Food Bank served 1.7 million people last year, compared to 856,000 people in 2019. Officials believe they’ll serve around 1.2 million people in 2021.

According to CEO Susannah Morgan, the food bank is still receiving a high supply of food from the federal government, which is helping to offset supply chain issues.

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