Good afternoon Fern Ridge families,
This past Thursday, the Oregon Department of Health and the Oregon Department of Education shared updates to the spread of COVID-19 in our state and a new timeline for removing the statewide indoor mask mandate.
Beginning March 19, the universal mask requirement for all public indoor spaces, including K-12 schools will be lifted.
From the onset of the pandemic, FRSD schools have relied upon the guidance and expertise of our state health authority and state partner agencies as the experts in response to this health crisis. This continues today, with the newest announcement.
Beginning March 19, FRSD schools will welcome and strongly advise face coverings, but will no longer require them in district schools and facilities. Our district leaders are working to support a welcoming environment in all of our school locations so that we normalize mask wearing for those students, families, and situations where desired or required (such as following a confirmed exposure to COVID-19, in a health room when ill, or transportation–if this Federal requirement is extended).
There are still many details and processes left to be determined to implement this change, in large part due to updates expected early next week regarding requirements that schools will need to follow around quarantining and contact tracing. We also are working on updating our visitor and volunteer protocols to be more in-line with the current health conditions (stay tuned). We will share additional details as they are finalized as we approach this date. For today, we are focused on three important items:
- Masks and other health protocols are still required until March 19.
- Students and families wishing to make a change to their educational model – ex: from online instruction to in-person, or vice versa will need to follow the existing transfer/enrollment processes and will be accommodated when possible, at the natural transition points, or as space allows. The earlier you communicate any possible change, the better.
- It is encouraging to hear that the Oregon Health Authority remains confident in the declining impact of COVID-19 on our day-to-day activities.
Throughout the past two years, we have all become accustomed to perpetual changes. This change in protocol is another example of this, and we know that it is likely to surface a multitude of emotions. Please know that our school staff continues to be available to support the needs of your student.
Gary Carpenter, Superintendent FRSD 28J