Governor Kate Brown Announces Steps to Lift COVID-19 Restrictions

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

Governor Kate Brown Announces Steps to Lift COVID-19 Restrictions

To: Superintendents, Principals, Charter School leaders, Private School Leaders, School Nurses, and ESD Reopening Advisors

Date:  June 4, 2021

From: Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education

RE:  Governor Kate Brown Announces Steps to Lift COVID-19 Restrictions

Today, Governor Kate Brown announced the steps the state will take to lift COVID-19 health and safety restrictions and fully reopen the economy after 70% of all Oregonians 18 and older have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Because vaccines are very effective at protecting against COVID-19, after reaching the 70% threshold, Oregon will lift most state restrictions and move away from a state-led emergency COVID-19 response effort. After reaching the 70% threshold, Oregon will take the following steps to lift restrictions:

  • Oregon’s Risk Level framework, including all county-based metrics and health and safety restrictions, will be lifted. This includes mask, physical distancing, and capacity limit requirements. 
  • The state will not require masks and face coverings in almost all settings, with some exceptions following federal guidance, including airports, public transit, and health care settings. 
  • Because the same mask and social distancing rules will apply for all individuals—vaccinated or unvaccinated—vaccine verification will not be necessary. 
  • It will still be strongly recommended that unvaccinated individuals and other vulnerable individuals continue to wear masks and practice other health and safety measures to stay safe from COVID-19.

“This has really become a tale of two pandemics. If you are vaccinated, then you’re safe, you can carry on safely without wearing a mask and social distancing,” said Governor Brown. “If you are not vaccinated, this virus still poses a very real threat.”

What does this mean for schools?

First remember that these changes do not take place until Oregon reaches the 70% vaccinated threshold. As of June 3, Oregon had achieved a 66.2% vaccination rate for individuals 18 and older, with 127,308 more people needing to receive a first dose to reach 70%.

Second, understand that children younger than 12 are still not eligible to be vaccinated and older students have had less time to get vaccinated. Schools remain largely unvaccinated spaces within a highly vaccinated state. Some specific health and safety measures will remain in place for schools and child care: 

  • Because many children are still not eligible for vaccination and remain vulnerable to COVID-19, local schools will be guided by health and safety guidance as students resume a normal school year in the fall. 
  • Students will attend school full-time, five days per week. K-12 guidance is being revised to support schools in safely delivering in-person instruction throughout the school day. 
  • For the same reasons, some health and safety standards for child care providers and summer youth programs will remain in place. 
  • Recently revised RSSL guidelines remain in place for schools. 

We will provide more information as Oregon nears this vaccination threshold and these changes take place. Again, thank you for all you are doing to support students, families and staff this school year. Please do not hesitate to contact the inbox with any questions.