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Oregon moving away from two-week quarantine requirement for kids exposed to COVID at school

The "test-to-stay" program could be in place as soon as Nov. 30. It would offer students immediate testing to keep them in class as much as possible.

PORTLAND, Oregon — State education officials are working on a program that would eliminate Oregon's two-week quarantine mandate for kids who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school.

"We're hopeful that by the end of the month, we'll be implementing what's called a test-to-stay model," said Oregon Department of Education Director, Colt Gill. “Testing supply will be the factor… we think we have that nearly in place."

Under the test-to-stay model, if a child comes into close contact with COVID-19 in a school setting, they would immediately be offered a test, paid for by the state. If the test is negative, they would stay in school and take a second test after seven days. If that test is negative, they would continue to stay in school.

“That will further reduce or nearly eliminate quarantines for our students,” said Gill.

RELATED: How to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for kids in Oregon, Washington

In the meantime, more and more young children continue to get vaccinated as kids clinics become more widely available. 

On Thursday night, the line outside Providence Park wrapped around the block for a pop-up clinic put on by Providence Health & Services, the Portland Timbers and Thorns FC. By the end of the clinic, 325 children ages 5 to 11 had received their first vaccine dose.

“It's a huge sigh of relief,” said Heath Berg, who brought his 6 and 9-year-old kids to get vaccinated. “It kind of brings everything full circle for me.”

The pediatric vaccine dose is one-third the size of an adult dose. Many kids jumped up and down with excitement and cheered at the mention of getting their COVID vaccine. Others were a little more nervous, including Omari Priestley’s 5-year-old daughter.

“I feel it's sort of a necessary step just so that my daughter's safe,” said Priestley. “That's first and foremost but just keeping her community safe as well, her classmates she goes to school with.”

RELATED: White House: 10% of kids aged 5-11 have been vaccinated in 1st 2 weeks