Communications Toolkit to Center Safety and Belonging as Schools Transition to Mask Optional Policy

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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: Colt Gill, Director, Oregon Department of Education
Date: March 11, 2022
RE: Communications Toolkit to Center Safety and Belonging as Schools Transition to Mask Optional Policy


OHA and ODE co-developed a communications toolkit to support school staff, students and families as Oregon transitions to local mask policy on March 12. The materials in the toolkit center mental health and well-being, belonging, safety and respect for choice during this transition. 

We invite you to make use of the customizable templates and resources to initiate conversations and communication with staff, students, families and your community. In the toolkit you’ll find:

  • Key messages to use with educators and school leaders
  • Tips to promote safe, inclusive conversations
  • Template letter to students and families about local mask policy 
  • Key messages you can use with students and families 
  • A selection of resources designed for educators to support safety and belonging
  • Resources and help lines for youth and families
  • Sample social media posts

In alignment with ODE’s Integrated Model of Mental Health, the goal is to create safe, supportive, welcoming schools and prevent bullying and harassment linked to student and family choice to wear or not wear a face covering at school. 

The shift to the optional wearing of face coverings presents an additional transition in an already challenging school year. Many young learners have never attended school without wearing a mask or face covering. This new experience may bring up feelings like joy, excitement, anticipation, stress and nervousness. These are perfectly understandable responses to any change in environment, and will likely be felt by everyone in the school community in some way. 

If you have any questions about this toolkit or would like additional ideas and thoughts in using some of the communication tools provided in this document, please contact