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Portland Public Schools updates COVID policy for athletics, performing arts

Under the policy, school venues are now limited to 50% capacity and COVID-19 vaccinations are required for all eligible visitors ages 5 and older.

PORTLAND, Ore — Portland Public Schools (PPS) on Thursday implemented an updated policy for school athletics and performing arts to help limit the spread of COVID-19

In a letter to parents, PPS wrote that school venues will be limited to 50% capacity, all visitors eligible for a COVID vaccine (ages 5 and older) must be vaccinated and masks must continue to be worn by everyone inside a venue. 

"We appreciate the need during a variant spike for reasonable mitigation steps," Rene Gonzalez of ED 300 said.

There will also be no overnight travel for sports or performances at least through Feb. 4, and no concessions or outside food or beverage will be allowed until further notice. 

"I totally recognize the moment we're in but we're of the opinion that every time we impose new restrictions on children at this point we need to be articulating what's the pathway off of those," Gonzalez said. "What are the metrics and how do we disembark?"

For sporting events, Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) Athletics will provide five spectator tickets to each PPS player for both home and away games. 

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Pending interleague play, five additional spectator tickets will be provided to each visiting player. There will be no charge for tickets during the regular season. 

Games will also be livestreamed for those who prefer to watch from home. A link to the livestream will be available on individual PPS schools' athletics websites. 

Meanwhile, several schools in the district have already shifted back to temporary remote learning due to COVID-related absences among staff and students as the omicron variant sends Oregon's case numbers soaring again. 

RELATED: Portland Public Schools admin accuses teachers of coordinating sick calls