Impact of Two-Week Freeze on K-12 Schools

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

To: School District Superintendents, Charter School Leaders, and Private School Leaders
From: Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education 
Date: Friday, November 13, 2020
RE: Impact of Two-Week Freeze on K-12 Schools

Thank you for joining us today to hear about the impact of Governor Brown’s Two-Week Freeze on our K-12 Schools. 

If you missed the meeting, the slide deck is available for review.

The Governor’s two-week freeze announcement today reflects critical measures needed to save lives and flatten the curve given rising cases of COVID-19 in communities throughout the state. The freeze also reflects Governor Brown’s commitment to returning our students to in-person instruction. These measures will help our counties meet the metrics for in-person instruction. 

Since the Governor issued her previous “2 Week Pause” on social activities to slow the spread of COVID-19 in several of our counties, there has been an alarming spike in both cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations. A majority of these cases stem from sporadic community spread.   

Hospitals are sounding the alarm. In the Portland metro area, hospitals are expecting an influx of COVID-19 patients. Several hospitals have voluntarily halted some elective surgeries to preserve beds and staff capacity. Oregon is in a dangerous situation.  Daily case rates are now topping 1,000. 

I want to reiterate that K-12 Schools are not directly impacted by the freeze. Congregate homeless sheltering, Youth Programs, Childcare, K-12 Schools, K-12 Sports, Division 1 Athletics and Higher Education operate under sector specific guidance for all risk levels. Schools should continue to follow the protocols and metrics in the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance. Schools that follow protocols like these are very effective at reducing the transmission of COVID-19. 

Finally, schools can help this effort by:

  1. Communicating about the west coast travel advisory, and helping staff and students self-quarantine if they traveled. Add a travel question to your entry screening protocols.
  2. Ensure strong Entry and Screening Protocols  (RSSL Section 1f and the Exclusion Guide) are in place every single day.
  3. Emphasize the Key Practices for Reducing Spread of COVID-19 in Schools.
  4. Watch for updated K-12 Athletics Guidance in the coming week.
  5. Require work from home opportunities when possible for staff. It is allowable for staff to be on campus to provide in-person instruction, for stable internet, and for other services deemed essential by the employer.
  6. Review your facility use agreements for other sector uses. 

Use the inbox for questions.

Again, thank you for all you are doing to support students, families, and educators in these challenging and ever changing times.