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State to Resume Requiring Masks Indoors for All K–12 Schools

Governor: All students and staff in Oregon must wear face coverings when they return to full-time, in-person learning this fall

The State of Oregon will require face coverings to be worn indoors by all students and staff when school resumes in the fall.

Gov. Kate Brown on July 29 announced that Oregon will return to requiring masks for everyone indoors in K–12 schools statewide, to help slow the increased spread of COVID-19, and to help keep students in school rather than out of classrooms due to quarantine. The Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority will create rules for Oregon schools. Previously the state had shifted to strongly advising, not mandating, that school districts should require face masks indoors at least for unvaccinated individuals, as a key element of a layered protection strategy.

The governor’s directive follows the sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases around the state, including those involving the highly contagious delta variant. The change aligns with the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently updated guidance that all staff, students, and visitors to K–12 schools should wear face masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

“The science and data are clear: the delta variant is in our communities, and it is more contagious,” Gov. Brown said. “My priority is to ensure our kids are able to safely return to full-time in-person learning this fall, five days per week and with minimal disruptions. With many children still ineligible to be vaccinated, masks are an effective way to help keep our kids safe in the classroom, the learning environment we know serves them best.”

Currently, children under the age of 12 are not eligible to receive vaccines to protect against COVID-19; testing is underway but no vaccine is yet authorized for younger children. The Oregon Department of Education said the universal use of face coverings inside schools is necessary to protect students under age 12, individuals who are not vaccinated, and those with underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to complications from COVID-19, as well as to minimize the disruption of student education in schools because of exposure to a case of COVID-19.

Eugene School District 4J will implement any changes required when further detailed guidance is received from state officials. The district currently requires all students and staff to wear face coverings indoors when students are present.

Learn More

Statement from Gov. Kate Brown
CDC Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People
Back to School In-Person, Full-Time This Fall
Face Coverings Lifted for Outdoor Activities
Walk-In Vaccine Clinics Continue Through Early August

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