School Health Advisory for Continuity of Instruction

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together
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March 2, 2022

Media Contacts:
ODE Communications Director Marc Siegel
OHA External Relations,


School Health Advisory for Continuity of Instruction

Advisory in effect statewide March 2 – April 30, 2022

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) are partnering to prioritize the safety protocols needed to reliably continue full-time, in-person school for all students. We know our students learn best in-person, where they have access to other on-site critical services. Together, Oregonians have made smart choices, like wearing masks and getting vaccinated and boosted. These efforts helped Oregon fare better than almost every state in the nation throughout the pandemic with some of the lowest case rates (3rd lowest) and lowest death rates (7th lowest) in the country. Thank you educators, families and students!

On February 28, 2022, in the setting of declining case rates and hospitalizations, California, Oregon and Washington announced the lifting of indoor masking mandates. Effective March 12, Oregon will no longer require face coverings indoors for the general population and in K-12 settings. This change will affect all public and private schools in Oregon.

In alignment with CDC, ODE and OHA recommend universal masking in K-12 settings when COVID-19 Community Levels are high. At all levels, individuals may choose to mask based on their individual risk assessment (e.g., increased risk for severe disease or family or community members at increased risk for severe disease).  

To maintain health and safety along with continuity of instruction during school this spring, OHA and ODE are issuing the following School Health Advisory, to remain in effect statewide March 2 – April 30, unless otherwise updated.

For schools:

  1. Before March 12, schools must establish and clearly communicate to students, staff and families their expectations for the use of face coverings. Many students and staff will choose to continue to wear face coverings at school. Every individual has the right to make that decision and schools need to support the continued use of face coverings by individuals and create an environment where individual decisions to wear a face covering are honored. Depending on local COVID-19 Community Levels, the CDC recommends the continued use of masks for those who are or who live with others who are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease.
  2. Prioritize care, connection and community to support the mental, emotional and social health and well-being of students, families, staff and administrators utilizing care and connection. Students and staff are likely to experience a variety of emotions. Some students or staff have never attended in-person school without a face covering. Encourage all to center grace and patience, reteaching community expectations that align with your district or school policy on face coverings.
    • School administrators should provide staff, educators and students with permission and ample time to build care, connection and community with their peers, teachers and school communities.
    • Create a safe and invitational space that allows each person to be where they are at, at any given moment, and to offer creative opportunities for them to explore their experiences and process personal and professional stresses, emotions, trauma, and grief.
    • Prioritize linking students and families with culturally responsive mental health services and supports.
    • Foster peer/student led initiatives on social-emotional well-being and mental health.
  3. Reteach to all staff, students and families your school’s layered mitigation safety protocols (including vaccinations, boosters, face coverings, physical distancing, ventilation, frequent handwashing). Schools are managed settings. When administrators and staff in schools are trained and implement layered mitigation safety protocols fully, the risk of COVID-19 transmission can be lower than in general community settings without such protocols in place.
  4. If students or staff show COVID-19 symptoms schools must exclude the individual per OAR 333-019-0010 (3) & (4). Schools may offer testing to the individual through OHA’s Diagnostic Testing Program.

For families and community members:

We need your help to maintain in-person instruction for children across Oregon. When community spread increases, more COVID-19 is introduced in our schools and causes disruption of in-person learning. You can help:

  1. Center grace and patience through this transition supporting the mental, emotional and social health and well-being of your child and your school community. Every family is unique and will make decisions on whether to wear face coverings based on this uniqueness. Depending on local COVID-19 Community Levels, the CDC recommends the continued use of masks for those who are or who live with others who are at increased risk for severe disease.
  2. If your child has COVID-19 symptoms, do not send them to school. Seek a COVID-19 test. Primary and Non-Primary Symptoms of COVID-19 can be found within the Resiliency Framework on page 26.
  3. Eligible students ages 5 and up should get vaccinated and boosted now if they’re not.
    • Vaccination remains the best protection against serious illness from COVID-19 and reduces spread of the disease.
    • Get Vaccinated Oregon.

Future School Health Advisories

OHA and ODE will continue to issue School Health Advisories to identify additional steps families, schools, and/or communities can take to help keep our children safely learning in our schools. These advisories may be regional or statewide. The School Health Advisories name actions that individuals, families, schools, and/or communities can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help schools stay open to in-person instruction.

For previous OHA/ODE School Health Advisories and more information on how your school is planning for a safe return to full-time, in-person learning go to

Thank you for doing your part to ensure our students have consistent access to in-person learning.