Clarification: Update on Face Coverings for our Youngest Students, OSHA Penalties and OSAA Requirements

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

Dear Partners,

We’ve updated this message to clarify language about how the new face covering rule impacts our youngest learners and connect you directly to the new Oregon Health Authority rule.


To:      Oregon Superintendents and Principals, Charter School Leaders, Private
            School Leaders, Reopening Advisors, School Nurses, Business Managers and
            Public Information Officers
From:  Kati Mosely, ODE Ready Schools, Safe Learners Manager
Date:   August 13, 2021
Re:      Update on Face Coverings for our Youngest Students, OSHA Penalties and
            OSAA Requirements 

Dear Oregon School and District Leaders:

Thank you for your partnership as we return students to full-time, in-person instruction next year and keep students and staff safe, healthy and learning. Through all the moves and shifts of the last 18 months, your steady presence for students, families and communities is felt and appreciated throughout Oregon. 

I’m writing to quickly preview a face covering update impacting our youngest Oregonians, alert you to a correction regarding penalties schools or school districts face from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if their staff or students fail to wear face coverings in schools, and link you to Oregon School Athletic Association’s (OSAA) recent update regarding masking in indoor spaces.

Clarifying That Face Covering Rule Impacts Students Five Years And Older
This afternoon, the Oregon Health Authority updated their K-12 face covering rule. The rule now applies to children five (5) years of age or older, not to children two (2) years of age or older. This applies to many settings including all settings required to follow Early Learning Division’s guidance.

As a note, the federal law requiring face coverings on public transportation applies to children ages two and up. Again, we are looking forward to providing all the details next week.

Daily Penalties From OSHA
We relayed incorrect numbers from OSHA in our August 10 communication detailing penalties for school districts that violate the face covering rule.

The minimum daily penalty for a failure-to-abate violation is $250, not $100, and the maximum daily penalty for such a violation is $12,675, not $2,600.

OSAA Update
This OSAA update provides information regarding OHA Masking Requirements for Indoor Spaces as well as updates to the OSAA’s Air Quality Guidelines board policy.

Thank you for your continued partnership as we all work to provide the best learning experience and environment for students and staff across the state. As always, please send your questions to