Oregon Dept. of Education releases new guidance on masks, quarantine
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The Oregon Department of Education laid out new recommendations on how schools can handle COVID-19.
One of the new recommendations released by ODE puts masking protocols back in the hands of school districts. Beginning March 12, when the state lifts its indoor mask mandate, individual school districts will get to decide whether to keep masking in place or make it optional.
ODE said while some people are ready for the change in protocol, others are still hesitant. They’re asking families to be understanding of schools as they navigate this new stage of the pandemic.
“We’re working really hard with our schools to ensure a safe and respectful environment for students and staff to learn together, regardless of their individual choice to wear a mask or not,” Colt Gill, director of ODE, said. “As we move toward this new stage and begin to witness these changes, and how we approach individual and community safety, I hope that we can offer one another grace and patience through the transition.”
ODE said there will no longer be contact tracing or mandatory quarantine periods at schools either. Instead, schools will be strongly encouraged to send out notifications if there’s an outbreak in a classroom, on a school bus, or in another similar situation. Then, they’ll work with public health departments to determine what to do about it.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms, the recommendation from ODE is the same - that student should isolate for five days.
“Isolation can end after five days if the person is fever free for 24 hours and their symptoms have improved, though they should continue to wear a mask for an additional five days,” Gill said.
ODE emphasizes that the pandemic is not over, but that we are moving to a new stage of it.
For more information about the updated guidance from ODE, click here.
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