News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Schools determined to keep kids in class

State education officials are making ominous rumblings about the potential for the omicron variant of COVID-19 to push students back to online learning.

“Student access to in-person instruction is under serious threat,’’ the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority said, as students returned to school after Christmas break.

Sisters schools are determined to keep students in class.

“It’s always been our priority since the start of this thing to keep in-person education,” said Sisters Schools Superintendent Curt Scholl. “We know it’s critically important to have our kids live, in person, in school.”

Scholl told The Nugget that he hasn’t heard anything directly from the State that would indicate that in-person education is under immediate threat.

“The biggest rumbling is that they’re looking at co-curricular,” he said.

According to Associated Press, state officials have suggested schools suspend extracurricular activities or ensure they follow safety protocols. They also warned that rapid transmission of the omicron variant is expected in indoor settings where people don’t wear masks and follow other safety protocols, like maintaining physical distances and washing hands.

In hopes of staving off limitations to co-curricular activities, Scholl said, “we’re really doubling down on our masking protocol.”

That means close enforcement of masking at games and other school activities, despite people wanting to be rid of them.

“We all have mask fatigue — nobody likes wearing them,” Scholl said.

Deschutes County reports being in “surge capacity” as case counts increase. On January 7, Deschutes County reported 940 new cases of COVID-19.

“Due to the recent sharp increase in local COVID cases, we are currently operating in a surge capacity,” said Health Officer Dr. George Conway. “We ask that residents wear a mask around people they don’t live with; continue to stay home and get tested if they feel sick; and self-isolate and notify close contacts if they test positive for COVID-19. Getting vaccinated and receiving a booster shot is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness, hospitalization, or death.”

Oregon Health and Science University predicts the omicron surge will peak in Oregon at the end of January.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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