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).


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.



Reopening Protocols, Templates, and ResourcesClick Here to view your District's Reopening StatusLearn About How Risk Level Metrics WorkVisual: How Risk Level Metrics WorkCurrent Sector Guidance (5/20)


Tanya Frisendahl

Reopening Advisor
Educational Services Team

ODE Reopening Guidance Documents

Date of most recent document/update is listed in (parenthesis). 

  • Graduation Pathways 2021 (03/22/21) – outlines the requirements for the Class of 2021. This year’s highlights include:
    • Credit requirements remain the same. Schools should provide support and ensure opportunities are available for seniors to earn credit for course work or learning.
    • Oregon Essential Skills Assessment and Personalized Learning Requirements are waived.
    • Prioritize on-site learning and support for senior
  • Graduation Ceremonies Guidance for 2021 (03/22/2021) – provides guidelines and examples of safe, year-end school celebrations to honor students.
Reference & Guidance Documents
Equity & Engagement
Collecting Public Feedback
Video Guidance
  • NEW: ODE Returning to School – Use to educate families on return to school protocols. (4/24/21)
  • Masks 101 (multiple videos: how to make, how to use, etc)
  • Handwashing
  • COVID Symptoms – CDC (0:21)
  • Ready Schools Safe Learners – training for district, building, and program leaders (8:15)
Cohort Examples
Other Resources

On-Site COVID19 School Testing Requirements – Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidance for how to implement on-site testing in K-12 facilities. (2/10/21)

  • See page 17 of RSSL to determines if a school is required to offer this program.
  • Changes between the 2/10/21 and 1/19/21 version are limited to page 12, specimen disposal. See crosswalk of changes here.

OHA K-12 Reporting Portal – Daily reporting of all positive and negative results through the OHA K-12 Reporting Portal OHA requires all COVID-19 test results, both positive and negative, to be reported daily. Schools must submit all test results through the portal.

Supplemental Forms

Abbott BinaxNOW Testing Log (2/20/21) – Results of each test must be promptly logged.  Testing logs must be kept in a secure location and may be audited by OHA. Jackson County schools must use the Jackson County log below. 

COVID19 Testing K-12 Registration Form (2/20/21)

COVID19 Testing Consent Form – All students must have written consent on file prior to COVID-19 testing; staff may give verbal consent at the time of testing. Staff are not required to have a consent form on file in order to be tested for COVID-19. (2/20/21)

Understanding your Positive COVID19 Result (2/25/21)

  • English – .doc
  • Spanish – .doc

Understanding your Negative COVID19 Result (2/25/21)


ODE Update  (2/9/21)

The release of Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance on 1/19/21 (RSSL has since been updated) included information and requirements related to a new Oregon Health Authority (OHA) administered school testing program for COVID-19 using BinaxNow Antigen tests. 252 schools are now registered, many actively implementing the testing strategy as outlined by OHA.

This testing program is available to all public and private schools in Oregon. It is required in some cases, but recommended for all schools operating in-person. It is a service to students and staff that can help to reduce disruption from COVID-19.

Key information about the program:

  1. Schools that choose to operate in-person through an On-Site or Hybrid Instructional Model in a county not meeting the metrics must offer the new school testing program by March 1 or by the time that decision would come into effect (if after March 1).
  2. Schools required to offer access to this program will have two-weeks to be registered, trained, and administering the program when or if metrics change in their county in a way that makes this program a requirement.
  3. The metrics found in the 0 Section, on page 17, of RSSL are what determines if a school is required to offer the program.
  4. The school testing program offers an additional risk-mitigation strategy that is relatively low-burden and can help offset impacts of operating when community spread is higher even if school transmission is low/absent and RSSL protocols are firmly in place. This requirement applies anytime a school is operating in an Instructional Model that is not aligned with the county metrics case data. This is true whether your school began operating in August/September, or took a pause, or opened on January 4th, or is just opening for the first time.
  5. This program is required for schools operating grades 6-12 in-person while in the Transition (Orange) column of the advisory metrics. While the metrics are advisory for determining instructional model, the testing program must also be offered if you are expanding grades while in the Transition (Orange) or Distance Learning (Red) columns and for all schools operating in-person while in the Distance Learning (Red) column.
  6. Access to testing needs to be offered on-site at each school. Staff who work across schools may administer the testing program; however, exposed/symptomatic students and staff should not travel between schools for a test. For example, staff administering the program across multiple schools could be assigned to schools within very close distance (within 5 minutes) and could travel to offer the test.
  7. School districts that have a school based health center (SBHC) that offers on-site testing for COVID-19, even if it is at another campus, may opt out of the requirement for offering on-site testing using BinaxNOW if testing is available during all hours students are on campus during school hours and the school can offer transportation to the SBHC for families without the means to get to the site. There are important details about how this should be done which include:
    1. Ensure face coverings.
    2. The passenger should sit as far away as possible from the driver.
    3. The bigger the vehicle, the better, to allow distancing. Vans are better than cars since they allow for better distancing between the passenger and driver.
    4. Travel with windows open or use the vehicle’s vents for fresh air circulation.
    5. Avoid picking up other passengers.
    6. Clean and disinfect the vehicle after transporting passengers who are suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19.
    7. Follow cleaning and disinfection procedures every time. Doors and windows should remain open when cleaning the vehicle. When cleaning and disinfecting, wear disposable gloves that are meant to be used with the cleaning products as well as a mask. After cleaning, remove gloves and throw them in the trash.
    8. Consider these additional transportation recommendations from the CDC.
Notes on the OHA On-Site Testing Guidance

The testing program guide was updated on 2/10/21 with the following small changes:

  • When registration forms are submitted for the entire school district rather than individual schools, OHA cannot determine the number of testing kits that should be allocated for each specific school. Also, data must be collected on each school that’s participating, (i.e. the total number of students and staff onsite, onsite testing personnel name, school grade, contact information, etc.).
  • An “indeterminate” result can be indicative of a flawed test kit. After the school testing administrator repeats it a second time and receives this result, they should immediately contact OHA at schooltesting.covid@dhsoha.state.or.us to request a new kit.

You can email schooltesting.covid@dhsoha.state.or.us for more information on this aspect of the program.

Any formal complaints regarding schools who are required to offer access to the testing program will be processed through OSHA.

ODE Training Resources

ODE provided a closed captioned recording of a webinar provided by Dr. Judy Guzman-Cotrill titled,  “A Review of BinaxNow COVID-19 Antigen Testing in K-12 Schools.”

This training covers essential information for offering access to the Oregon Health Authority coordinated school testing program.

Click here for the presentation slides and an FAQ.

Current Athletics Status

On April 23, 2021, Governor Brown issued new guidance for indoor athletics. K-12 sports may resume in accordance to the guidance outlined in this document and must comply with the restrictions based on the county’s COVID-19 risk level. Interschool competitions for indoor K-12 school sports are permitted and must follow the indoor recreation and fitness maximum capacity limits for the county where the competition takes place.  Read the full announcement here. 

On February 10, 2021, Governor Brown announced that outdoor contact sports will be permitted to resume with health and safety protocols in place based on county risk level. Read the full announcement here.

School districts and private schools who opt-in to K-12 full-contact sports when their county is designated as “extreme” or “high-risk” per the Governor’s Risk and Protection Framework follow the below steps. Click here to view an online map of county status.

RESOURCE: K-12 School Sports Guidance – Per the Governor’s Office, OHA, OSAA (2/10/21).

Reinstating Full-Contact Athletics (Outdoor AND Indoor) 4/22/21

If you are a school, please follow the below steps to submit the contact sports form as required in the OHA guidance.

  1. Download and complete this Contact Sports Form template.
  2. Upload and post your completed form on your school or district website that is publicly accessible.
  3. Have the link where your form is posted ready to share with ODE. You should choose a link that will stay current if or when you update the form.
  4. Complete this simple ODE form while providing the link to your posted contact sports form where it lives on your own school or district website.

* Note: If you don’t have a school or district website, you can email the completed form to ODECOVID19@ode.state.or.us

More K-12 sports guidance:
District Plans (as of 2/20/21; see statewide here)
Where do I get cleaning & maintenance supplies?

School facilities are the responsibility of the local school district and as such they are responsible for cleaning the buildings. Because this is a local control issue, the state does not have systems in place to provide additional supplies to districts.

Try these options for more information:

  • Oregon School Facilities Management Association. They provide peer to peer information sharing and resources. Districts can get advice from other districts about how to address potential shortages of cleaning supplies.
  • ORPIN. This is the public procurement network that public agencies, including school districts can use. Districts may be able to find cleaning supplies on this network that can help address any potential shortages.
  • Local county emergency managers.
Where can I find the reopening status of a specific school district? 

Click here to view an online map.

Are face coverings required? 

It depends.

On 5/18/21, OHA issued new guidance. In general, RSSL remains the rule. However, school districts, charter schools, and private schools may still choose to require face coverings universally at all times. 

Guidance from OHA on entertainment establishment capacity and physical distancing is currently under review and may be updated in the coming days.


  • “Fully vaccinated individual” means an individual has received both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since the individual’s final dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • “Proof of vaccination status” means documentation provided by a tribal, federal, state or local government, or a health care provider, that includes an individual’s name, date of birth, type of COVID-19 vaccination given, date or dates given, depending on whether it is a one-dose or two-dose vaccine, and the name/location of the health care provider or site where the vaccine was administered. Documentation may include, but is not limited to, COVID-19 vaccination record card, or a copy or digital picture of the vaccination record card.


  • Outdoor Sports: Students, staff, volunteers, and spectators are not required to wear face coverings at outdoor sports events. Until additional updates are provided, all previous physical distancing and capacity restrictions still apply.
  • Indoor Sports:  Fully vaccinated students, staff, volunteers, and spectators are not required to wear face coverings at indoor sports events only when vaccination status is checked by the school in a manner described by OHA in guidance. Until additional updates are provided, all previous physical distancing and capacity restrictions still apply.
  • Outdoor Graduation Ceremony: Students, staff, volunteers, and spectators are not required to wear face coverings at outdoor graduation ceremonies. Until additional updates are provided, all previous physical distancing and capacity restrictions still apply.
  • Indoor Graduation Ceremony: Fully vaccinated students, staff, volunteers, and spectators are not required to wear face coverings at indoor graduation ceremonies only when vaccination status is checked by the school in a manner described by OHA in guidance. ODE and OHA recommend outdoor graduation ceremonies with planned reschedule dates for inclement weather. Until additional updates are provided, all previous physical distancing and capacity restrictions still apply.
  • These provisions are optional for the venue operators. School districts, charter schools, and private schools may still choose to require face coverings at these events. 

RSSL Updates:

  • Outdoors: Students, staff, volunteers, and visitors are not required to wear face coverings outdoors (including, but not limited to: Outdoor PE, outdoor music, recess, and arrival & dismissal). Until additional updates are provided, all RSSL physical distancing and other related requirements still apply.
  • School Staff Indoors: Fully vaccinated staff are not required to wear face coverings or physically distance inside school buildings when students are not present (such as before and after school or on weekends) only when vaccination status is checked by the school.
  • School Board Meetings Indoors: Fully vaccinated staff, school board members, and community are not required to wear face coverings or physically distance inside at school board meetings if children are not present only when vaccination status is checked by the school. Most children in Oregon are not yet vaccinated. School board meetings are open to the public and students and children are always welcome.
  • These provisions are optional. School districts, charter schools, and private schools may still choose to require face coverings universally at all times. 

If a school is experiencing active transmission of COVID-19 or is located in a community experiencing increased rates of COVID-19, they should strongly consider maintaining or reinstating universal requirements for face coverings. 

None of these provisions should limit an individual or family decision to continue to wear face coverings in school settings. Schools should take steps to prevent and interrupt teasing, bullying, or harassment related to COVID-19 or COVID-19 mitigation efforts, especially when the civil rights of students may be violated.

Transportation (school bussing) has additional requirements. See Transportation Requirements per CDC (1/29/21).

What are the physical distancing requirements? 

As of 3/22/21, the restriction was changed from 6 feet to 3 feet.

Key updates to Ready Schools, Safe Learners include:

  • Elementary schools must maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students to the maximum extent possible.
  • Middle and High School must maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students to the maximum extent possible, when the county case rate is <200 (green level on the metrics chart in Section 0).
  • Middle and High School must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between students to the maximum extent possible, when the county case rate is ≥200 (yellow and red levels on the metrics chart in Section 0).
  • All schools must maintain 6 feet between staff at all times and 6 feet between staff and students to the maximum extent possible.
  • Removal of the 35 sq ft per person requirement and other physical distancing changes are documented in the RSSL guidance.
Why has the Executive Order on school reopening changed? 

More research and data have surfaced about COVID19 transmission rates and methods in schools. Based on these findings, the Governor has determined that RSSL decisions may be made at a local level. Here is a summary of some of the findings (not an exhaustive list).

What has changed?

Each school now has a designated and simple process that allows for named and anonymous sharing of concerns that can be reviewed on a daily and weekly basis by the designated RSSL building point-person. Example: Anonymous survey form or suggestion box where at least weekly submissions and resolutions are shared in some format.

What about school sports? 

Governor Brown made an announcement 2/10/21 allowing limited returns to school athletic programs. For more information, see the “Sports” tab to the left.

What should I do if I don’t think my child’s school is in compliance with RSSL guidance? 

If you believe a school is not in compliance with the RSSL guidance you can file a named or confidential complaint with Oregon OSHA at 1-833-604-0884 or online.

Can’t find your answer? Search this list of FAQs from ODE.

What is an Operational Blueprint? (1/18/21)

An Operational Blueprint is essentially your plan for resuming school activities. It is due by August 15 or the start of school, whichever is earlier.

How do I know which model to choose? 

There are three instructional models for schools in the 2020-21 school year:

  1. On-site
  2. Hybrid, and
  3. Comprehensive Distance Learning (full requirements here)

Note: If you are changing your instructional model, a new Operational Blueprint may need to be completed. Please contact us for more information.

You can start by looking at this Decision Tree.

Don’t know which method to choose? Use the chart below.

SOESD Blueprints

SOESD provides evaluative services in our offices, as well as direct student instructional services in the schools of the districts we serve. Each district we serve submits a blueprint for each of their schools where we may serve students. SOESD’s other direct instructional services for students are outlined in separate SOESD blueprints here.

Other School Plans


Community Christian Academy

The blueprints for all the districts in southern Oregon (and the state) are located on ODE’s web site.


SOESD assists districts with preparing and updating blueprints with resources available in the Operational Blueprint Templates and Protocols available through the button below.