Public School COVID-19 Health and Safety for the 2022-2023 School Year

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

To: Superintendents, Reopening Advisors, K-12 Public Information Officers, Principals, Charter School Leaders, School Nurses
From: Colt Gill, Director, Oregon Department of Education  
Date: April 28, 2022 
Re:  Public School COVID-19 Health and Safety for the 2022-2023 School Year


Dear School and District Leaders, 

Today we are sharing resources and tools for district and school-level COVID-19 management planning for school year, 2022-23. Assurances regarding readiness of schools to respond to increased COVID-19 transmission during the 2022-23 school year are due to Oregon Department of Education (ODE) before the start of the district's school year or by August 26, whichever is sooner. 

This communication includes:   

Through the enormous challenges and loss of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon’s school leaders have innovated, strengthened collaboration, and increased resilience to serve students and families across our state. Thank you for your efforts. While COVID-19 is a disease we will continue to live with and manage in schools in the year to come, our schools and our school communities are experienced and equipped to maintain operations while protecting health and safety in our school. Because of the exceptional services you and your staff have provided to families navigating the last two school years, students, staff, and families have come to expect meaningful and clear communication from schools and districts related to COVID-19 and school health and safety.  

Every student and family in our schools has pandemic experiences. But, each student, staff member and family we serve has not had the same experience of COVID-19 and each will bring unique and at times heartbreaking lived experience into our schools in the fall. Members of Tribes, community members who are Asian, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Latino/a/x, Pacific Islander; students and families experiencing disabilities; students and families living in rural areas; and students and families navigating poverty and houselessness have experienced more illness, death, job loss and housing and food instability than others. As leaders in Oregon’s education system, we must continue to deliver culturally responsive, meaningful approaches grounded in human connection, belonging and equity principles to support every student we serve. Our two years of experience mitigating COVID-19 will serve us well this next school year, allowing an even greater focus on connection, acceleration and belonging in our school communities. Your wisdom in all these areas is a critical contribution to planning for the year to come.  

School Year 2022-2023 COVID-19 Plan Requirements 

Over the past two school years, schools and districts prepared Operational Blueprints (SY 2020-2021) and Safe Return to In Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plans (SY 2021-2022). As Oregon emerges from the response phase of the pandemic and returns to its traditional governance model emphasizing local control and decision-making, the School-level COVID-19 Management Plan (COVID-19 Management Plan) builds upon the lessons learned of these years, including the lasting equity and mental health impacts of the pandemic and Oregon’s response to COVID-19.  

The School-level COVID-19 Management Plan combines the requirement for an Operational Plan (OAR 581-022-0106(4)), and a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plan required by the American Rescue Plan Act. The template is aligned with other operational plans, emergency plans, and district communicable disease management plans already in place and will assist in the development and ongoing improvement of key operations during times when illnesses surge in our schools. With appropriate planning and prevention strategies in place, schools can reduce the need for school exclusions and ensure that all students have access to a full school year. 

Who must complete a School-level COVID-19 Management Plan? 

For the 2022-23 school year, under Section 2001(i)(1) of the ARP ESSER and the US Department of Education’s Interim Final Requirements for Safe Return/Continuity of Services Plan, Education Service Districts, school districts and public charter schools must ensure that every public school and program has a completed School-Level COVID-19 Management Plan by submitting a set of assurances.  

The COVID-19 Management Plan verifies the school or program is ready to:  

  • Prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from a COVID-19 case outbreak. 
  • Ensure continuity of instruction for all students, regardless of support needs. 
  • Ensure continuity of learning during and after a COVID-19 case or event. 
  • Communicate their plan to their staff, students, families, and community. 

Template, Instructions & Tools 

ODE, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon School Nurses Association (OSNA) co-developed this template, instructions and tools as a guide to school-level COVID-19 management planning for the 2022-23 school year. Districts, schools, or programs may use a format that best supports planning and alignment locally while ensuring that the plan includes the content laid out in the template.  

The template is designed to assist schools and programs with school-level COVID-19 management in three sections:  

  1. Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities.
  2. Equity and Mental Health Supports: Preparing a plan which centers equity and mental health supports. 
  3. COVID-19 Outbreak Prevention, Response, & Recovery: Implementing mitigation activities, responding to increases in transmission, resuming regular activities, and debriefing actions to improve process.

Submitting Assurances, no later than August 26, 2022 

Before the start of the 2022-23 school year or no later than August 26, 2022, Districts, ESDs, and public charter schools will submit to the Oregon Department of Education a set of assurances that:  

  1. A School-Level COVID-19 Management Plan is in place for every public school, public charter school, or program that is not covered by a school plan (including a link to where these plans are available to the public).  
  2. Schools engaged an intentional process to center equity and mental health and well-being in COVID-19 Management Plan. 
  3. Commitment to regularly train school staff in the COVID-19 Management Plan. 
  4. A link to the district’s communicable disease management plan. 
  5. District has an up-to-date emergency operations plan. 
  6. Certifications required for ESSSER III funding via the Safe Return plan. 

Planning Support 

Oregon Department of Education will be holding office hours from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 2 to review this requirement, give an overview of the COVID-19 Management Plan template and answer questions about the process. Additionally, representatives from your Education Service District will be offering training and support for fall planning in the coming weeks.  

While healing from the past two years is essential, as we enter spring, we are also reminded of the growth we have experienced. School-level COVID-19 Management Plans represent a path forward that will allow us to grow even stronger. Building upon your wisdom from lessons learned, we will shape a healthier, safer, more equitable and supportive educational environment for our students. Thank you for all you do for your students, staff, and families.  

Questions related to the COVID-19 Management Plan requirement or template can be sent to