New Oregon schools advisory in effect today | News

SALEM, Oregon — Oregon’s education and health departments are releasing a new “School Health Advisory for Continuity of Instruction.”

The new advice urges schools to use their layered approach to preventive measures, including masks, to stay personal for the rest of the school year. The advisory says a pre-pandemic respiratory disease outbreak protocol is in effect, with the state experiencing an increase in respiratory disease as people relax pandemic guidelines.

The advisory is the first from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) since March 2, 2022. That advisory ended on April 30. The new advice is in effect today until August 31, 2022.

ODE and OHA say they prioritize safety protocols needed to continue full-time, in-person school for all students, saying, “We know our students learn best in person, where they have access to critical support and services.







child with parent




Today’s advice is in direct response to a change in CDC community levels in six Oregon counties over the past two weeks and an increase in respiratory illness.

ODE says today’s School Health Advisory plans to help schools work with local partners to work in person for the remainder of this school year.

ODE says: “As students and staff have gathered indoors without face coverings for protection, Oregon has experienced an increase in respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. The combined burden of COVID-19, flu, and other respiratory viruses co-occurring in our communities means that schools must remain vigilant about health and safety to protect personal instruction Most Oregon counties have been categorized as “low” by the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels for several weeks now. Multnomah, Clackamas, Benton and Deschutes) are categorized as ‘Medium’ which is why we are sending this notice. Our North Star continues to provide equitable access to personalized education for every student all day, every school day.”

The government agencies say that knowledge and operational experience have gained leaders from implementing Iayered mitigation safety protocols during the coronavirus pandemic” are key to maintaining personalized instruction. Implementing layered mitigation can prevent illness and ensure students continue to learn in school with teachers and staff. use the protections provided by layered safety protocols for mitigation Districts and Schools should maximize the implementation of layered mitigation strategies, including recommending face covering or implementing universal use of face covering, before considering moving to remote instruction or other termination of face-to-face instruction.”







first day back to personal school

first day back to personal school




Schools and local public health agencies (LPHAs) are working together to provide support for respiratory disease outbreaks long before the COVID-19 pandemic. ODE says: “At this stage of the pandemic, we are returning to pre-pandemic protocols for managing the outbreak of respiratory disease. School leaders should monitor their communities for high absenteeism or unusual spread of disease, and notify their LPHA if the following thresholds have been met:

  1. At school level: ≥ 30% absenteeism due to illness, with at least 10 pupils/staff absent.
  2. At cohort level: ≥ 20% absenteeism due to illness, with at least 3 students/employees absent. For example, a base class of 25 students with 5 absent students, some with respiratory symptoms, would trigger a call to the LPHA partner.”

To maintain health and safety, along with continuity of education during school this spring, OHA and ODE are issuing the following school health advisory, which will remain in effect statewide from May 13 to August 31 unless otherwise updated.

For schools:

  1. Continue to closely monitor the transmission of COVID-19 within your province through COVID-19 community levels. Consistent with CDC and ODE, OHA strongly recommends universal masking in K-12 settings when COVID-19 community levels are high. At all levels, individuals can choose to mask based on their individual risk assessment (e.g., increased risk of serious illness or family members or members of the community at increased risk of serious illness).
  2. Schools should continue to implement free COVID-19 testing programs for students and staff.
  3. When considering a shift to distance education, districts or schools should maximize the implementation of layered mitigation strategies, including recommending face covering or implementing universal use of face covering, before considering moving to distance education or other closure of personal learning.
  4. Schools should monitor unusual absenteeism or illness within a cohort and inform their LPHA of unusual respiratory disease activity if the following thresholds are met.
    1. At school level: ≥ 30% absenteeism due to illness, with at least 10 pupils/staff absent.
    2. At cohort level: ≥ 20% absenteeism due to illness, with at least 3 students/employees absent.
  5. If students or staff have COVID-like symptoms, schools must exclude the person according to OAR 333-019-0010 (3) & (4). Schools can offer COVID testing to the individual through OHA’s diagnostic testing program.






    mother with her 10-year-old son Jack

    mother with her 10-year-old son Jack




    For families and community members:

    We need your help to ensure our children have consistent access to in-person instruction throughout Oregon. When disease spreads through our community, personal education in our schools and classrooms is threatened. You can help:

    1. If your child is sick with COVID-like symptoms, don’t send them to school
    2. Find a COVID-19 test. Contact your local school about a test kit or your local pharmacy.
    3. Eligible students aged 5 and over must be vaccinated and promoted when eligible.
      • Vaccination remains the best protection against serious illness from COVID-19 and reduces the spread of the disease.
      • Get vaccinated in Oregon.

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