Updated Resiliency Framework for Optional Face Coverings in K-12 Settings Beginning March 12

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

To: Superintendents and Principals, Charter School Leaders, Private School Leaders, School Nurses, Public Information Officers, Reopening Advisors, and Education Partners
From: Kati Moseley, Ready Schools Resiliency Manager
Date: March 2, 2022
RE: Updated Resiliency Framework for Optional Face Coverings in K-12 Settings Beginning March 12


Dear Colleagues,

As you thoughtfully prepare and plan health and safety mitigation for March 12 and beyond, we want to share a few practical updates to the Ready Schools, Safe Learner Resiliency Framework and share the latest School Health Advisory.

The Resiliency Framework effective March 12 includes safety protocols for quarantine, contact tracing and testing that meet the current conditions of the pandemic.

The March/April School Health Advisory reinforces the updates to the Resiliency Framework and reiterates how we support every student and family through this transition to ensure that students and staff stay safe during in-person learning.

Resiliency Framework Effective March 12

Monday, Governor Brown announced Oregon would lift mask requirements for indoor public spaces and schools on March 11 at 11:59 PM. This decision is based on current COVID-19 case forecasting from OHSU, which projects hospitalization falling below 400 or fewer Oregonians per day by March 12. This will return Oregon to a level of hospitalization experienced prior to the Omicron variant. Additionally, because of high vaccination rates and previous infection due to Omicron, Oregon now has significant population immunity. OHA estimates that upwards of 82% of individuals are currently immune. The duration of this immunity is unknown, but is believed to provide protection from reinfection for at least 90 days. This is good news for Oregon. And, the shift in decision making for masking to local levels will bring additional questions about school operations this spring.

With several changes in health and safety guidance occurring in conjunction with the lifting of the masking requirement on March 11, ODE has updated the RSSL Resiliency Framework to reflect recommendations beginning on March 12. This version of the framework is effective March 12  and beyond. Education partners should continue to reference the February 9, 2022 version of the Framework until March 12.

The revisions effective on March 12 include:

  • Information on CDC COVID-19 Community Levels (page 4) as a tool for informing local decisions on masking and other COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
  • Revision to 2021-2022 Existing Rules section (page 7) lifting Face Coverings (OAR 333-019-1025 and OAR 333-019-1015) general mask requirements for indoor public places and for schools.
  • Revision to Advisory Health and Safety Strategies (page 14-15)
    • Face Coverings literature resources and guidance.
    • Physical Distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • Revision to OHA Sponsored COVID-19 Testing in Schools (page 16)
    • Diagnostic Testing for K-12 students and staff offering a test to stay enhanced exposure testing protocol.
    • Screening Testing for Unvaccinated K-12 Students/Staff removing reporting for case investigation or contact tracing.
  • Public Health Communication and Training for School Staff (page 21) highlighting the need to retrain staff to ensure that health and safety protocols are reviewed and strengthened.
  • Revisions to Isolation Protocols Required by OAR 581-022-2220 (page 22-23)
    • Contact tracing and quarantine paused for the general population including the K-12 setting.
    • Isolation guidance encouraging schools to provide cohort notification when exposures occur.
    • Centralized support for schools and families through the Positive COVID Test website and COVID-19 Case Support Hotline.

This New Stage

As we move into this new stage, sharing updates this week, we also must take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate all of our educators - without which this year of in-person learning could not have happened. These past two years have been incredibly challenging but also meaningful and impactful to so many.  As we move into this new stage of the pandemic, we will look back at this time in our history and see our educators as the heroes that have been and continue to be there for our children and families.

We understand on a deeper level those students, and families that make up our school communities and we remain hopeful that the most recent COVID-19 data signals brighter days ahead. With the lifting of the statewide mask requirements allowing schools to set their own mask requirements, we also know that 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 should support the continued use of face coverings by individuals. In fact, health experts recommend continued face coverings for students and staff that are at higher risk because they are not vaccinated; immunocompromised; have underlying health conditions; are 65 and older; or who live with someone in one of these categories.

Even while the pandemic enters a new phase, face covering requirements are lifted and a level of population immunity is realized, we continue our work to ensure that students and staff stay safe at school. Vaccination continues to be recommended as a primary protective measure from COVID-19 variants protecting our children and their ability to continue learning in-person, all year long. Thank you for your partnership and thoughtful planning for the weeks ahead, and thank you for all of your dedication to better the lives of our young Oregonians.

If you have any questions about this update, please contact the ODE COVID-19 inbox at ODECOVID19@ode.state.or.us. Thank you!