News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Continuity of Instruction Advisory released for February

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) are partnering to prioritize the safety protocols needed to reliably continue full-time, in-person school for all students. 

February’s School Health Advisory is designed to help schools operate in-person through the remainder of the Omicron surge in Oregon.

To maintain the continuity of instruction during school this year, OHA and ODE are issuing the following School Health Advisory, to remain in effect statewide Feb. 1 – March 4, unless otherwise updated.

For schools:

If students or staff show COVID-19 symptoms or the school is aware they are a close contact, the school must exclude the individual. Schools may offer testing to the individual through OHA’s Diagnostic Testing Program. 

Test-to-stay protocol allows individuals who are eligible for quarantine to remain learning in-person when certain criteria are met.

If a quarantine is called for, prioritize a shortened five-day quarantine option. This means that when a close contact remains symptom free, they may return to school and other activities on day six.

To reduce spread and the number of students and staff excluded from school due to contracting COVID-19 or quarantining due to close contact, each school should review and update their Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan.

Schools should continue to reinforce the importance of layered mitigation efforts. Plan to re-teach appropriate use of face coverings, reestablish consistent physical distancing practices, incorporate frequent handwashing, recheck ventilation systems, and attend to other layered health and safety measures.

Schools should consider implementing additional layers of protection such as increased airflow and circulation, implementing free COVID-19 testing programs, retraining staff on all protocols, and educating staff, students and families about COVID-19 symptoms.

Schools should work with health partners to offer vaccination clinics and encourage eligible students and staff to get their vaccinations and boosters. 

Schools and other organizations should pause extracurricular activities or ensure they follow the same layered mitigation safety protocols practiced during the school day.

Schools should hold events (parent/family conferences, fundraisers, etc.) online, rather than in-person. If events are held in-person, make every effort to hold the events under covered areas outside, ensure all participants wear masks, and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet between individuals from different households.

For families and community members:

If your child has COVID-19 symptoms, do not send them to school. Seek a COVID-19 test. 

Get vaccinated now if you’re not. Vaccination remains the best protection against serious illness from COVID-19 and reduces spread of the disease.

If you’re eligible for a booster, make an appointment.

Families with school-age children and educators should limit gatherings and non-essential activities with people from other households to the extent possible throughout February. If you are visiting people from another household, you should wear a mask, maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet, and keep activities outdoors as much as possible.

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