Today, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced they will lift statewide mask requirements for indoor public spaces and Oregon’s schools on March 19. After that time, mask requirements will be a local decision.
Earlier this month, OHA had announced that the K-12 mask rule would be lifted on March 31. However, current modeling from Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) indicates that hospitalizations will fall below 400 or fewer Oregonians per day by March 19, a level the state experienced before the arrival of the Omicron variant in Oregon. This latest announcement from the OHA will allow the school mandate to be lifted in alignment with general indoor mask requirements.
As shared with you in previous communications, the Sherwood School District Board of Directors took action on this issue on August 4, 2021 (video of that meeting can be viewed here). Based on previous Board action and the information released today, pending no further county-level mandates from the local public health authority, our district will move forward with an optional mask rule once the current mandate ends on March 19, 2022. Please note that masks are still required on public transportation, which includes school buses, until lifted by the federal government and cannot be waived by state or local authorities.
The Oregon Department of Education has notified schools that they, in partnership with OHA, will soon be releasing a revised version of the Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework, which will include updates to safety protocols for quarantine, contact tracing, and testing. Once our district receives these guidance updates, we will be reviewing the information and sharing it with our stakeholders, including presenting details of the guidance to our Board of Directors at their March 9 meeting. Please stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks.