An April 9, 2017 photo of the Banks High School and Middle School. Photo: Chas Hundley

BANKS - The Banks School District will begin the school year online on September 8, superintendent Jeff Leo announced Tuesday afternoon.

"Countries that have managed to safely reopen school buildings have done so with declining infection rates and on-demand testing. Unfortunately, presently Oregon has neither. The escalating infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not yet under control," Leo wrote in a letter posted on the school district website and emailed to parents.

Read the full letter here.

The move to start the school year in the Comprehensive Distance learning model comes as the state has announced strict metrics that define when schools can reopen, tied to county and state level COVID-19 metrics.

According to Leo, the guidance showed that schools in Washington County cannot be safely reopened currently.

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The full list of metrics can be viewed here.

There was no date given for when students might return to school, a decision not fully in the hands of local school officials under the new rules announced by Governor Brown Tuesday.

The Banks School Board had planned to meet Monday, July 27, but rescheduled the meeting to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29, where the main topic will be an update for the board and meeting attendees on the district’s reopening plans, though such plans remain, of course, in constant flux, driven not by wishes, but by the virus.