The Oregon Department of Education recently released new guidance for schools following the Governor’s announcement that lifted the state’s indoor mask mandate as of March 12.
Key updates include: face masks will be recommended and no longer required for students and staff in schools and on buses, sunsetting current quarantine protocols, and the continuation of isolation for those positive with COVID-19.
Masking becomes strongly recommended
Beginning March 12, Bend-La Pine Schools will continue to strongly recommend masks as a precautionary measure for students and staff, especially for those at high risk of contracting COVID-19, as well as during times when COVID-19 cases are at a high level in the community. The ultimate decision will rest with families and individuals.
Our staff will work to reinforce an environment of respect and inclusion for all members of our district, regardless of their personal health decisions.
Additionally, masks will no longer be required on buses after March 12.
No more quarantine after March 12
Effective March 12, 2022, Oregon will pause contact tracing and quarantine for the general population, including K-12 settings.
The Bend-La Pine Schools COVID-19 Response and Recovery Team will send exposure notifications at the classroom level at elementary schools and school wide at the middle and high school level. School-sanctioned teams, clubs, and activities will also be notified, as appropriate.
Individuals who have COVID-19 must isolate for at least 5 days. Isolation may end after 5 full days if the individual is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and symptoms have improved.
Layered mitigation continues
The district will continue to have layered mitigation and safety measures in place to protect the health of the students and staff in our schools. High quality masks and diagnostic tests will be available to those that choose to utilize these tools.
Maintaining a Sense of Community
Students may be feeling excited about the masking change, worried, nervous, anxious or even angry, especially if their choice is different from the majority of their peers. Staff members recognize that students will need opportunities to build empathy and understanding of the different choices/situations they will likely observe in their classrooms. Our responsibility is to honor individual choices and our goal is to create understanding, foster community and prevent divisiveness as much as possible.
California, Oregon and Washington state will shift from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools starting on Saturday, March 12, according to a statement from the governors today, Monday, Feb. 28.
This means that masking will become strongly recommended, rather than required, for almost all students and staff when they return to our schools and worksites after March 12.
We anticipate additional updates from the Oregon Department of Education this week and we will keep families updated as changes are announced.
Los estados de California, Oregón y Washington harán la transición de requerir cubiertas faciales a recomendarlas en las escuelas a partir del sábado, 12 de marzo, de acuerdo con una declaración de parte de los gobernadores hoy, lunes 28 de febrero.
Esto quiere decir que el uso de cubiertas faciales pasa a ser altamente recomendado, en vez de requerido, para casi todos los estudiantes y personal escolar cuando regresen a nuestras escuelas y lugares de trabajo después del 12 de marzo.
Anticipamos que habrá nuevos avisos de parte del Departamento de Educación de Oregón esta semana y mantendremos al tanto a las familias según se anuncien nuevos cambios.
Masks Strongly Recommended Indoors, Beginning March 19
Today, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced plans to lift mask requirements for indoor public spaces and Oregon’s schools on Saturday, March 19, rather than the state’s previously announced date of March 31. This means that masking will become strongly recommended, rather than required, for most students when they return to our schools and worksites after March 19. Watch the video update from the Oregon Department of Education.
Staff may still be required to mask in specific work environments or conditions, such as when in an isolation room or working with students who are identified as medically vulnerable.
In the event that conditions require additional mitigation measures to control spread of COVID-19, masking could be made temporarily mandatory in a classroom, at a school, or district-wide. This mitigation measure could help to keep classrooms, departments, and schools open during surges of COVID-19 in our communities.
Masking on Buses May Continue
Masks are currently required by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for students and staff on public transportation, including school buses, through March 18. We will continue to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and other federal agencies as they make decisions about the federal mask requirement.
Changes to Quarantine, Contact Tracing and Testing Expected
OHA and the Oregon Department of Education have shared that they plan to update the RSSL Resiliency Framework, and other resources, with updates to safety protocols for quarantine, contact tracing and testing. These updates are expected to be released as soon as next week.
Until new information and rules are released by OHA/ODE, the current protocols for quarantine and isolation, contact tracing and testing will remain unchanged. This includes required masking for students on days 6-10 of quarantine or isolation.
Layered Mitigations Continue District wide
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.
Layered health and safety measures - from screening for illness at the door to physical distancing and hygiene - help us maximize full-time, in-person learning and reduce disruptions for students, staff and families. That’s why every layer matters and every layer helps keep students in class.