What is Ready Schools, Safe Learners?
In accordance with Executive Order 20-29 and Governor Brown’s 12/23/20 decision to transition to advisory metrics, existing OED’s RSSL guidance was updated to Version 5.5.0. Schools that change their instructional model from CDL to On-site or Hybrid must revise their Operational Blueprint using the latest ODE template. Schools must meet all requirements outlined in sections 1-3 of RSSL. Any updates to Operational Blueprints must be posted on the district website and sent to the Local Public Health Authority.
The current version of RSSL is 7.5.2 (5/28/21).
4/29/21 RISING CASE UPDATE:
In light of increasing cases, hospitalizations and variants of concern that are more transmissible, OHA is now recommending 14-day quarantine for all unvaccinated contacts in all settings, including schools.
SOESD: Just as a reminder, the word “recommendation from the OHA” means required to LPHAs to the extend that they can “require” someone to stay home. Schools can require students from not returning to school. This caused much confusion.
For schools, this means that:
Any person who has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 should quarantine at home for up to 14 days after the date of last exposure to the COVID-19-positive contact. Although a 14-day quarantine is the safest option to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others, the local public health authority (LPHA) may allow close contacts who have not developed any symptoms to end quarantine after 10 days without any testing, or after 7 days with a negative result on a COVID-19 viral test collected within 48 hours before ending quarantine, with the exceptions below. Contacts should still monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for the full 14 days after exposure, and if symptoms develop they should isolate and seek testing.
- Close contacts who have been fully immunized with a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning they have received both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine and are at least 14 days beyond completion of the vaccine series at the time of their exposure are not required to quarantine. Fully immunized close contacts should still monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14 days after exposure, and if symptoms develop they should isolate and seek testing.
- Close contacts who themselves had a previous confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 case (verified by a positive viral COVID-19 test and/or LPHA) and have completed their isolation are not required to quarantine if the new exposure happened within 90 days of symptom onset or first positive test, whichever is earlier, for their original case.
Any person who has been in close contact with someone else who was exposed to COVID-19 does not need to quarantine. That is, quarantine is only recommended for people who have close contact with a person who is confirmed or presumptive as determined by the LPHA, not close contact with a contact (an exposed person without COVID-19 symptoms and no positive test result).
6/4/21 Governor’s plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions:
Today, Governor Kate Brown announced the steps the state will take to lift COVID-19 health and safety restrictions and fully reopen the economy after 70% of all Oregonians 18 and older have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
After reaching the 70% threshold, Oregon will take the following steps to lift restrictions:
- Oregon’s Risk Level framework, including all county-based metrics and health and safety restrictions, will be lifted. This includes mask, physical distancing, and capacity limit requirements.
- The state will not require masks and face coverings in almost all settings, with some exceptions following federal guidance, including airports, public transit, and health care settings.
- Because the same mask and social distancing rules will apply for all individuals—vaccinated or unvaccinated—vaccine verification will not be necessary.
- It will still be strongly recommended that unvaccinated individuals and other vulnerable individuals continue to wear masks and practice other health and safety measures to stay safe from COVID-19.
What does this mean for schools?
First, these changes do not take place until Oregon reaches the 70% vaccinated threshold. As of June 3, Oregon had achieved a 66.2% vaccination rate for individuals 18 and older, with 127,308 more people needing to receive a first dose to reach 70%.
Second, understand that children younger than 12 are still not eligible to be vaccinated and older students have had less time to get vaccinated. Schools remain largely unvaccinated spaces within a highly vaccinated state. Some specific health and safety measures will remain in place for schools and child care:
- Because many children are still not eligible for vaccination and remain vulnerable to COVID-19, local schools will be guided by health and safety guidance as students resume a normal school year in the fall.
- Students will attend school full-time, five days per week. K-12 guidance is being revised to support schools in safely delivering in-person instruction throughout the school day.
- For the same reasons, some health and safety standards for child care providers and summer youth programs will remain in place.
- Recently revised RSSL guidelines remain in place for schools.