Return to School FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We will be addressing frequently asked questions from our community, staff, students and families. Click on the text in red, below, to see answers to that topic.

FAQs in Español

What are indoor masking requirements during regular school hours?

Regular school hours: Masks are required to be worn in all indoor shared school and work settings, during school hours, for all individuals two years and older, including all students, staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors, per the Oregon Health Authority’s new statewide rule (OAR 333-019-1015).

Group mask breaks, full classroom mask breaks, department staff mask breaks are best done outdoors where ventilation and physical distancing are maximized.

Masks will be made available at schools and district buildings.

Certain accommodations for medical needs or disability may be necessary.

An individual is not required to wear a mask indoors if the individual is:

  • Actively eating or drinking.
  • Sleeping.
  • Playing a musical instrument that requires using the mouth.
  • Engaged in a sport during physical education class such as swimming, other water sports, or a sport where wearing a mask could be a strangulation hazard such as gymnastics or wrestling.
  • Alone in a private office enclosed by walls on all sides with a door that is closed.
  • Is under the age of two.

What are updated guidelines for wearing masks outdoors?

Based on recent revisions to requirements issued by the Oregon Department of Education*, beginning Monday, Dec. 6, wearing masks while outdoors for Bend-La Pine Schools’ students and staff will be recommended (not required). This change applies to students in grades K-12 and staff in outdoor settings that include, but are not limited to, recess, lunch, PE, etc. Additionally, families or other visitors outside on school campus (for instance during student drop off or pick up) are recommended, not required, to wear masks.

Unvaccinated individuals not wearing masks who are exposed to a positive COVID-19 case while outdoors will need to follow quarantine protocols if they are identified as close contact.

Masks continue to be required indoors.

Note: Curricular activities may take place outside, where six feet of distance can be maintained. Masks are recommended in these setting, but not required.


*OHA adopted updated temporary rules OAR 333-019-1025 and OAR 333-019-1015 which revised the statewide indoor/outdoor face covering rule and the K12 face covering rule. The revision to OAR 333-019-1025 maintains a statewide requirement for mask use in indoor settings and removes the requirement for everyone age five (5) or older to wear a face covering outdoors where people from separate households gather. Revisions to OAR 333-019-1015 removes the outdoor face covering requirement for K-12 settings.

I do not plan to send my student to school in a mask. What are my options?

Bend-La Pine Schools Online is an exceptional option for families looking for a flexible schedule, students who want to take just a class or two at their home school, and home school families.

Bend-La Pine Schools Online programming is designed across a continuum of support. Regular school-year registration is open and free to students residing within the Bend-La Pine school district boundaries. Learn more here.

Of note, students will not be allowed to enter, or stay inside, school sites if they refuse to comply with OAR 333-019-1015, which requires face coverings in all indoor school settings, both public and private, for all individuals two years and older, including all students, staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors.

Will masks be required if/when local control is returned to school districts?

If the Governor’s statewide mask requirement for schools ( OAR 333-019-1015) expires or become rescinded by Governor proclamation, and local control of decision making be reinstated AND the date is 60 to 90 days after COVID-19 vaccines have become readily available to students under 12 years old, it would be our recommendation for indoor masking to become strongly recommended rather than required for all students and staff.

Should OAR 333-019-1015 expire and local control of decision making be reinstated AND the date is not 60 days after COVID-19 vaccines have become readily available to students under 12 years old, we would recommend indoor masking to continue to be required for students under age 12 and strongly recommended for all over age 12, while engaged in compulsory education.

Additionally, upon reinstatement of local control of decision-making, the district would continue to partner with local public health authorities to monitor both community rates of transmission and in-school or in-department transmission activity. In cases where localized transmission rates elevate in schools, district administrators, partnering with local health, may institute more restrictive interventions on a case-by-case basis as conditions are warranted. These circumstances could include but are not limited to: returning to required masking, increasing of cleaning and hand washing strategies, tighter cohorting practices, and returning to remote learning in cases where significant transmission is prevalent.

What will meals look like at school this year?

Lunch is a time when the entire classroom/school will be removing their masks to eat. Because of that, students will be eating outside, which is the safest place to be. While eating outside, students will be assigned to a spot that is 6 feet away from others while the class is eating. Outside lunch will continue on a daily basis, except in the event of poor air quality or inclement weather, such as rain or low temperatures.

When it is not possible to eat lunch outside, schools have a specific plan to eat inside, which is similar to what schools did last year:

At the elementary level, for the most part, students will eat in their classrooms. There are times that class sizes are too large to accommodate all students spread out in one room. For those classes, overflow areas, such as hallways, common areas, and cafeterias, will be utilized to spread students out. There are times in which these overflow areas may also include students from other classes, but students will stay within the same group, just as during recess.

Middle and high school students will eat in designated areas such as the cafeteria, hallways, common areas or some classrooms.

Students will be spaced 6 feet apart, and be encouraged to stay seated and keep talking to a minimum. When inside, schools will work to increase fresh air flow by opening doors and windows as much as possible. Immediately upon finishing lunch, or getting up to dump trash, students will put their masks back on.

Breakfast is a bit different because not every student eats breakfast. Therefore, breakfast will be done in a similar way to inside lunch. Students will eat in an assigned spot and be 6 feet away from others. As soon as a student finishes eating, they will put their mask back on. Overflow areas may also be utilized for breakfast, where students will be assigned seats and be 6 feet from others.

Families with questions can follow up with classroom teachers or school main offices about practices.

Are there consequences or penalties to schools or staff if masks are not worn?

Yes. If schools are unable to obtain compliance or indicate an intent to not comply with the masking requirements, state agencies and boards may consider the enforcement and penalties to support compliance for the benefit of students and staff: link.

What are physical distancing expectations this year?

A lot has changed in terms of physical distancing guidance for this school year. Schools will promote physical distancing by doing the following when possible:

  • Support physical distancing in all daily activities and instruction, maintaining at least 3 feet between individuals to the extent possible. Maintaining physical distancing should not preclude return to full-time, in-person instruction for all students.
  • Consider physical distancing requirements when setting up learning and other spaces, arranging spaces and groups to allow for and encourage at least 3 feet of physical distancing.
  • Physical distancing of desks, floor markers, and one-way traffic are no longer required, but personal distance preferences will continue to be respected.
  • Students and staff who have not been vaccinated are strongly advised to maintain physical distance (avoiding hugs, handshakes, prolonged proximity under 3 feet to the extent possible) in addition to wearing a face mask.
  • Meals may be consumed outdoors, to the extent possible.

Students, staff, and visitors will be asked to be mindful of physical distancing.

Are students required to get the COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend Bend-La Pine Schools?

COVID-19 vaccinations are not required for students to attend our schools. Bend-La Pine Schools recognizes that the best approach to preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a layered defense of protective measures, with the COVID-19 vaccination being the best defense in protecting individuals from contracting COVID-19 and preventing the spread of the virus to others.

When vaccines become available to those under the age of 12, we will partner with medical partners to provide space, through Facility Use Agreements, for COVID-19 vaccination clinics at no charge. We will support communication of COVID-19 youth vaccination clinic information to staff, students and families. We will require parent/guardian consent for release from school to on-site vaccine clinics that take place during the school day for students under the age of 15.

How will quarantining work this year?

When an individual has been identified as a close contact to a person with COVID-19, the following protocols will be followed:

Unchanged from last year: An exposure is defined as a susceptible individual who has close contact (less than 6 feet) for longer than 15 cumulative minutes in a day with a person who has COVID-19.

Unchanged from last year: If a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, then the local public health authority will be consulted to review the situation.

Unchanged from last year: Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine so long as they remain asymptomatic.

New this year: If a school can confirm that 6 feet of distancing was consistently maintained during the school day, or 3 feet of distancing with consistent mask use was maintained during the school day, then each person the confirmed case was in contact with will not need to quarantine – this could include all members of a stable cohort.

New this year: K-12 Quarantine Exception: Quarantine is not necessary for:

  • Students who were within 3 or more feet of a person with COVID-19;
  • where both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting face coverings;
  • and Other K–12 school prevention strategies were in place in the K–12 school setting.

School and department administrators are required to exclude staff and students from school whom they have reason to suspect have been exposed to COVID-19. (OAR 333- 019-0010).

Isolation protocol will follow state and local health guidelines for response to related illness events.

See the COVID-19 Exclusion Summary Guide for exclusion and isolation protocols for sick students and staff identified at the time of arrival or during the school day.

Will visitors and volunteers be allowed in school buildings?

Bend-La Pine Schools will allow limited approved volunteer access to essential, fully vaccinated, masked persons when there is moderate, substantial or high COVID-19 community transmission, per Superintendent, or designee, approval and KCA-AR.

Bend-La Pine Schools will allow, beyond the school lobby, all visitors and volunteers who are fully vaccinated and masked when there is low COVID-19 community transmission, per KK-AR and KCA-AR.

  • Schools should continue to emphasize the importance of staying home when sick. Anyone, including volunteers, who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as flu or COVID-19, should stay home and seek testing and care.

Schools may allow for outdoor family visitors for calendared school-wide events.

What cleaning protocols can we expect for the 2021-22 school year?

District facilities will be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected daily using District sanctioned, EPA List N approved products for COVID-19.

Health rooms and isolation rooms will be disinfected thoroughly by the custodial staff on a daily basis and after any student or staff member with COVID-19 symptoms leaves the room.

Transportation staff will regularly clean and disinfect buses using the approved cleaning and disinfecting products and equipment on which they have been trained.

What are hand washing/hand sanitizing expectations?

Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, such as covering coughs and sneezes, is encouraged for staff, students and visitors. Hand sanitation stations are provided throughout all district facilities.

Safe handwashing procedures will be posted at Bend-La Pine Schools’ sites including bathroom washing stations and classroom sinks.

Bend-La Pine Schools will continue to implement protocols and systems to ensure access to soap, water, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Schools will prioritize handwashing with soap and water after students or staff use the restroom and throughout the day as appropriate.

Will schools continue to offer school bus transportation and meals?

Absolutely. We are offering free, universal breakfast and lunch at all schools. Free supper is also available to grab-and-go at several school sites.

This year, only those who are registered will be able to ride the bus (this includes current bus riders as well as new riders).

Registering allows us to create more efficient bus routes and student rosters for safety.

Register Today Using This Form

Complete this questionnaire for each student in your home. You will need to know your student’s ID#. You may also contact the Transportation office at 541-355-5702 or email [email protected] for help making this selection.