It is back to class for Clatskanie School District students.

“We are planning to start classes on Monday, September 13th,” Clatskanie School District Superintendent Cathy Hurowitz said. “Our numbers of COVID cases have taken a slight dip.”

First Day of the New School Year

Children will be back in the classroom for the start of the new school year at the Clatskanie Public School District Monday, Sept. 13.

The first week of school was scheduled to begin Aug. 30, but the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on students and school staff forced classes to be postponed.

“Due to an unprecedented number of COVID positive cases in our students and staff we are going to postpone school until September 13th and possibly the 20th depending on what is happening in our community,” Hurowitz wrote in a message to the district staff, school board and area families following the decision to postpone the start of the new school year.

Hurowitz did not have a number of how many students and staff had contracted COVID-19 in a published interview in the Sept. 3 edition of The Chief, although she said some were quarantine, but none had been hospitalized.

“Our number one concern is for the health and safety of students and staff,” she said.

Schools in Oregon are required to follow a mask mandate for students. The Clatskanie Schools and the Rainier School District have put into place health and safety protocols to help ensure the safety of all students, staff and school visitors, according to officials in the two school districts.

Schools are already using the Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in school settings. Because schools are controlled settings, with layered mitigation safety protocols in place, the risk of COVID-19 transmission can be lower than in the general community in settings without such protocols in place, according to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE).

This new school year, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and ODE will issue School Health Advisories to identify additional steps families, schools, and communities can take to help keep our children safely learning in our schools. These advisories may be regional or statewide.

The School Health Advisories may name actions that individuals, families and communities can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help schools stay open. They may be issued in response to either an increased risk by adding mitigation efforts or a reduced risk by rescinding previous School Health Advisories.

ODE advisory

For families with children heading back to the classroom, The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has released the following five back-to-school tips:

  • Make a plan to vaccinate all eligible household members
  • Wear a face covering in public and in carpools
  • Limit gatherings with other households
  • Move any social activities outside
  • Make a plan in case your child needs to miss school

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and ODE have issued the following School Health Advisory, to remain in effect statewide Sept. 7 – Oct. 1, unless otherwise updated:

1) All eligible youth and adults who come in contact with school-age children should vaccinate to reduce spread in the school community.

2) Families with school-age children and educators should limit gatherings and non-essential activities with people from other households to the extent possible. If you are visiting people from another household, you should wear a mask, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet, and keep activities outdoors as much as possible.

3) To the extent possible, schools and other organizations should reduce extracurricular activities and consider holding activities, such as meals, recess, physical education classes, music and choir, outdoors to maximize physical distancing. Likewise, if schools and other organizations proceed with extracurricular activities, they should consider holding them outdoors and implementing additional precautions like face coverings and physical distancing.

4) Schools should hold beginning of the year family events (open houses, meet the teacher nights, etc.) online, rather than in-person. If events are held in-person, ensure all participants wear masks, hold the events outside, and maintain physical distancing of 6 feet to the degree possible.

5) Families should check your school’s website or ODE’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners website to review your school’s Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan.

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