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Oregon students won't return to classroom until coronavirus cases decline

At the current rate of infection, Oregon's governor said it would take more than 200 days before kids can safely go back to school.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Students in Oregon won’t return to the classroom until there’s a substantial decline in coronavirus cases, Governor Kate Brown said Friday. At the current rate of infection, Brown warned it would take more than 200 days before kids can safely go back to school. That is in April.

“We need to see a much more rapid decline in case numbers and we need to see it quickly,” said Brown.

Health officials noted during a press conference with the governor, Oregon is making progress. Recently, COVID-19 cases have declined, along with positive test rates.

“We’re on the right track,” said Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority. “Now we need to step on the gas.”

RELATED: Oregon COVID-19 updates, Aug. 21: After 2 days, half of the state's $500 relief checks have been handed out

Health officials emphasized the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

If the public fails to comply with safety recommendations and the numbers don’t improve, Brown warned there could be a crackdown including closing bars and restaurants, travel restrictions and quarantine for some people coming into the state.

“If we don’t step up to the next level, then I’m going to have to take more restrictive action and that is a decision I am reluctant to make,” said Brown. “It’s a decision that by all of us working together- we can prevent.”

RELATED: Back to school in Oregon: What your district's plan looks like