The Oregon Department of Education has updated the guidelines school districts will use for the start of the new year ahead.

Back To School

The Oregon Department of Education has announced updates to its back to school guidelines.

The following is a new information from the ODE.

Today we’re sharing updates to the Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework for the 2021-22 School Year. The Resiliency Framework prioritizes student and staff health and well-being through care, connection, and the creation of safe, inclusive and supportive learning environments.

As summer progresses, planning for a return to full-time, in-person instruction this fall is generating both excitement and stress for many of us. I’m grateful for your steady presence for Oregon’s students and families through the challenges and shifts of the last school years, and look forward to our collective success in keeping students safe, healthy and learning during the next school year.

When the Resiliency Framework was initially shared on June 25, 2021, we outlined key pillars that remain constant:

  • All schools will operate full-time, in-person instruction every day.
  • School districts and charter schools may continue to offer online programs for students at their discretion.
  • All of the Resiliency Framework is advisory guidance, except where compliance is mandated by existing state and federal law.
  • School district leaders are empowered to make local decisions about health and safety protocols and mitigation strategies that best serve students and staff in their community.

The Resiliency Framework replaces Ready Schools, Safe Learners version 7.5.2 and applies to the 2021-22 school year. The framework may also be used for 2021 summer school.

The updates to the Resiliency Framework as of July 22, 2021 are identified by green text in the document itself (attached) and include:

Acknowledgement that K-12 schools will vary when it comes to the number of students and staff fully vaccinated. Elementary schools primarily serve children under 12 years of age who are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine at this time. Some schools may have a low percentage of students and staff fully vaccinated despite vaccine eligibility. These variations necessitate that K-12 administrators make decisions about the use of COVID-19 prevention strategies in their schools to protect people who are not fully vaccinated (Page 4).

Alignment to CDC guidance which states that people who are fully vaccinated and do not have COVID-19 symptoms do not need to quarantine or get tested after exposure to someone with COVID-19. This protects the student’s access to in-person learning, sports and extracurricular activities. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or 2 weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (Page 12).

The CDC’s order for mandatory use of face coverings for passengers and drivers on public transit applies to school buses. This order remains in effect until lifted by the federal government and cannot be waived by state or local authorities (Page 6).

Clarification that maintaining physical distancing should not prevent return to full-time, in-person instruction for all students. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet between students, school leaders are reminded of the importance of layering multiple other prevention strategies, such as face coverings, indoors (Page 14).

In grades kindergarten and up, OHA and ODE still strongly advise face coverings for all staff and students who are unvaccinated while indoors. Certain accommodations for medical needs or disability may be necessary (Page 13).

Information about how school districts submit an Operational Plan/Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan via Smartsheet. These plans must be submitted to ODE by Monday, August 23, 2021 to fulfill the requirements of American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) State plan and the State Board of Education. The Smartsheet link, tools and directions will be shared later today. Information for public charter schools will be shared next week (Page 7).

Details about COVID-19 Testing in Schools, a program sponsored by OHA. OHA continues to offer a diagnostic testing program for schools, and has added a screening program for schools that may be interested (Pages 18-19).

A communications toolkit with resources to help school and district leaders communicate to students, staff and families (Page 19).

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