The Forest Grove School District central office. Photo: Chas Hundley

FOREST GROVE - The Forest Grove School District will begin the school year online on September 14, superintendent Dave Parker announced Tuesday afternoon.

"Unfortunately, as you well know, the virus continues to spread throughout our community, county, state and the nation. Throughout the state, we have seen a steady increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past several weeks. Countries that have managed to safely reopen schools have done so with declining infection rates and on-demand testing available. In Washington County, the unfortunate reality is that infection rates are rising, public health systems are taxed, and the funding we need to scale up safe learning and working environments simply isn’t available," Parker 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.

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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, but instead driven by state and local COVID-19 numbers.

"This virus has shown us that we can’t predict the impact that it will have on an individual. Some individuals may experience minimal effect while it could result in serious health implications -- even death -- for others. There is nothing I want more right now than to have our students back in our schools learning with our teachers and staff. But for the safety of our students, staff and our community, we have concluded that this decision is the course of action we must take," Parker said.

The district plans to release additional information on the Comprehensive Distance Learning model on August 6, according to Parker.