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Face Masks Required Among COVID Prevention Measures

Health and safety measures including statewide mask requirement to help keep schools open and students in classrooms • Online learning options will be offered for families who prefer

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 announced last week that Oregon will return to requiring masks for everyone indoors in K–12 schools statewide. The purpose is to help slow the increased spread of COVID-19 including the highly transmissible delta variant, and to help keep students in school rather than out of classrooms due to quarantine.

“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.”

The State of Oregon has now published the details of the new statewide rule (OAR 333-019-1015) and updated guidance for schools (Resiliency Framework for 2021–22). The state will review the mask requirement monthly; the rule may change in the future, in response to changing pandemic conditions.

Face Masks Required Indoors at School

At this time, face coverings are required for everybody 2 years and older in all indoor school settings, during the school day and during educational activities (including off-site activities). There are limited exceptions such as briefly removing face masks while playing wind instruments or actively eating or drinking.

Students must wear face masks indoors at school. If a student comes to school without a face mask, the school will provide one for them to wear. Parents who do not want their student to wear a face mask should request to enroll in online learning. The application period for online learning will be later in August.

At this time, there continues to be a specific exception for high school sports: Student athletes who have been verified by 4J Health Services to be fully vaccinated may remove face coverings indoors while actively engaged in athletic activities outside the school day.

Staff and all others must wear face masks indoors in schools during the school day, during educational activities, and when students are present. Outside of the school day or in non-school buildings, when students are not present, staff must wear face masks unless they are verified to be fully vaccinated. (Updated due to changes in statewide face covering requirements effective August 13.) The exceptions are brief mask removal while actively eating or drinking not in the presence of students, and when alone in an office or other room completely enclosed by full walls and with the door closed.

Face masks are not required outdoors, and may be removed during recess and other outdoor activities. Students and staff may still choose to wear face coverings in situations where they are not required.

Other Health & Safety Measures 

Wearing face masks indoors is one layer of the multilayered prevention strategies that will be in place for health and safety in schools this fall.

Vaccines, face masks, and physical distancing provide the most effective prevention against spreading COVID-19, public health officials note. Safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 are available but not required for all staff and students age 12 and older. Vaccines may be available for students under age 12 as soon as this winter.

4J has partnered with healthcare providers including Cascade Health and Lane County Public Health to make vaccines available free to all 4J staff, students and families over age 12. The district will work to provide additional student vaccination opportunities when vaccines are authorized for younger age groups.

Physical distancing and limiting contact between cohorts will continue to be important. Schools also will continue increased ventilation, with more outside air and bipolar ionization to reduce particles in the air, regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and frequent handwashing, among other measures.

Other Learning Options 

Eugene School District 4J is planning to welcome students back to school on-site full-time this fall, resuming regular school schedules five days a week, after more than a year of distance learning and hybrid on-site/online learning. The district’s aim is to return to classrooms full-time with health and safety measures in place, and sustain students attending school on-site for learning and supports to the greatest extent safely possible

Most 4J parents—97% of those responding—have said they want their student to learn on-site at their regular school this fall. However, we know that some families will not be ready to return to school in-person until all students have had the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or until another future point.

The district will provide online learning options families may choose if they prefer. The Eugene Online Academy provides asynchronous, independent learning on a flexible schedule for middle and high school students, and for elementary students whose families prefer the asynchronous model. A synchronous, real-time online classroom option also will be offered for elementary school students this year. These programs will be districtwide. They will not be linked to individual schools or offer special programs such as language immersion.

Parents will be notified when the application period for online learning is open later in August.

We look forward to welcoming our 4J students back to classrooms—in-person for most and online for those who choose—this fall.

Learn More

Statewide School Mask Rule OAR 333-019-1015
Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework for 2021–22

Regular School Schedules Resume in Fall 2021
Back to School In-Person, Full-Time This Fall
Face Coverings Lifted for Outdoor Activities
Vaccine Clinics in Schools Continue Through August

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