Dear SOESD Communities and Staff,
SOESD continues to prioritize student, staff, and community health and safety as we coordinate with health officials regarding COVID-19. We, like you, are all concerned about COVID-19 in southern Oregon and worldwide.
With the number of confirmed cases in Oregon increasing, Governor Brown has announced new guidance regarding group gatherings and social distancing. Following the governor’s announcement, today the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) provided guidance based on her direction. The governor, Oregon health authorities, and ODE are continuing to recommend that schools stay open. However, new guidance is to cancel or limit all non-essential gatherings and group activities.
In accordance with this guidance and in order to minimize potential opportunities for the virus to spread, SOESD has decided to proactively begin suspending events that bring large groups of students, adults, and community members together. We will be continuing some meetings and events in electronic format.
The safety, health, and well-being of our staff and students continue to be our highest priority. In addition to implementing the new guidance, our administrative team has coordinated distribution of cleaning supplies, prioritization for cleaning high-touch surfaces, and establishment of protocols for staff and students, including asking those with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) to stay home.
Employees, students, families, and everyone in our community can continue to best support efforts by:
- Staying home when sick with fever, cough, and shortness of breath, only returning to school or work when free of COVID-19 symptoms for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines. If you are concerned about symptoms, please consult with a doctor.
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Washing hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaners or wipes.
- Taking care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
- A facemask should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. It is not recommended that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this difficult time. We will continue to rely on the guidance from the CDC, Oregon Health Authority, the Department of Education, the Office of the Governor, and County Public Health, to minimize both the spread of COVID-19 and disruption to schools and students. If COVID-19 is identified at SOESD or a district we serve, the local health department will collaborate with the district to determine whether closure is warranted or helpful in reducing the spread of the illness.
Please know that this message and decisions are being made in collaboration with the State of Oregon and districts across the state and in our region. We all collectively share the utmost concern for the health and safety of our students, employees, and communities.
Southern Oregon ESD Superintendent