Updates to Ready Schools, Safe Learners Supporting documents, updates on OHA’s school testing program, and additional communication resources

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

To: Superintendents, Principals, K-12 Public Information Officers, Private School Leaders, Charter School Leaders, School Nurses, Reopening Advisors
From: Kati Moseley, Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Manager
Date: March 9, 2022
RE: Updates to Ready Schools, Safe Learners Supporting documents, updates on OHA’s school testing program, and additional communication resources



ODE and OHA have updated the Planning for COVID-19 Scenarios in Schools document,  Communicable Disease Guidance for Schools, as well as the Exclusion Summary Guide to align with the March 12 shift to optional masking and the pause to contact tracing and quarantine. These updated tools clarify procedures for schools related to exclusion, school community communication and management of communicable disease. We hope that they will assist you in keeping schools open and communities safe.

These document updates bring these materials into alignment with CDC and OHA updates to health and safety protocols for schools effective March 12. These updates include:

  • Pause to quarantine and contact tracing.
  • Aligning COVID-19 primary and non-primary symptoms across documents.
  • Revisions to the test to stay protocol to describe the updated approach called enhanced exposure testing.
  • Changes to symptom-based COVID-19 exclusion guidelines.

Testing supplies arriving to Title 1 schools soon

Prior to Spring Break, OHA’s school testing program will send iHealth antigen self-tests to all Title I schools in Oregon. These tests can be sent home with students prior to spring break. These tests represent one strategy to increase access to testing resources in our school communities. Tests have already begun arriving and will continue to arrive in the coming weeks.

Each Title I school will receive enough tests to distribute one test kit (containing two tests) to each student. Schools and school districts do not need to request tests. Students and their families are encouraged to use these tests if they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have had a known exposure to COVID-19. OHA has flyers available in 13 languages (OHA testing page under “For recipients of iHealth home test kits”) that schools may also send home with students. Customizable flyers are available here in English and here in Spanish.

Additional Communication Resources Available Friday

As schools face several changes to COVID-19 protocols in the coming weeks, OHA and ODE remain committed to school safety. Additional communication tools, templates and other materials, will be posted online Friday, March 11 to assist in communicating with families, parents, students and staff. A template letter notifying families of a positive COVID-19 case, revised K-12 Testing Guidance and Protocol that includes the enhanced exposure testing, updates to COVID-19 Investigative Guidelines, along with resources to share with families who have questions about COVID-19 or who have tested positive all will be available on Friday.

Decisions about when or how schools respond to an outbreak of COVID-19 are local and involve collaboration across multiple actors. ODE encourages districts and school leaders to refer to the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels and the Oregon Data for Decisions Dashboard to inform decision-making at the local level. Clear communication and reinforcement of your school’s layered mitigation safety protocols (including vaccinations, boosters, face coverings, physical distancing, ventilation, frequent handwashing) are also essential. All mitigation layers are important tools in limiting the spread of COVID-19 while providing equitable education.   

Again, thank you for your determination and resolve on behalf of Oregon youth. If you have any questions about this update, please contact the ODE COVID-19 inbox at ODECOVID19@ode.state.or.us. Thank you!