North Santiam School District

Message from Supt. Gardner

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March 3, 2022

Dear NSSD Families,

The State of Oregon will be shifting to a mask-optional approach in schools as of March 12, 2022. We appreciate that the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education have elected to align the general public requirements with school requirements. We believe the dropping COVID-19 case rates justify the move, and we look forward to it. We recognize that parents may have questions about how this will be implemented, and this communication is intended to clarify the District’s approach to the new mask-optional environment.

Students and staff will be mask-optional in all District schools and school buses beginning Monday, March 14, 2022. We will continue to encourage reasonable social distancing, but it is important to understand students and staff will be in a traditional, open school setting. We want to emphasize that many students and staff may choose to continue to wear masks and that our duty will be to avoid harassment for making that choice.

Contact Tracing/Quarantines

The State has eliminated contact-tracing and quarantines for school-based exposures. While there is a general expectation of distancing wherever possible, we will no longer investigate to determine who was closer than six feet, etc. Should a case occur within a classroom or co-curricular activity, parents of students will be notified, but students will no longer be identified as a possible close contact or exposure.

Exclusions from School

The state still requires a student or staff with confirmed COVID-19 to isolate at home for a minimum of five days and their symptoms are significantly improved which includes being fever-free for at least 24 hours. Students and staff experiencing primary symptoms of COVID-19 are also required to stay home. Please refer to the COVID-19 Exclusion Summary Guidance for K-12 schools for more details.


The District expects to receive final guidance regarding testing options and support later this week. We will continue to offer diagnostic testing for symptomatic staff and students who become ill at school and those who have a confirmed exposure. New options for schools to support testing for students who are medically fragile or have been exposed to COVID-19 will be coming, and when that information is available, we will share it.


The District is working on the process to allow volunteers into schools, including those who are unvaccinated. We will communicate this when it is finalized. We anticipate volunteers returning to our schools after Spring Break however, it is important to note the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for school staff and volunteers has not been lifted. This means schools must continue to require these individuals to be vaccinated or have a district-approved exemption.

As we move to a more open school environment, we want to thank all of the families and staff who have worked patiently through the various COVID-19 surges. We look forward to the coming months where students will experience school as we have always known it.

Andy Gardner


Weekly COVID screening program still going

As a reminder, the free OHA weekly saliva screening program for Oregon schools is still going. LabDash has made it even easier to sign up with online registration. You can use the links below to sign up. Testing kits are available in school offices and the tests are processed on Tuesdays. You can typically have an answer in the same day. For more information, you can go to the LabDash website.

Online Registration - English

Online Registration - Spanish

Upcoming Dates to Remember

The 2022-2023 school calendar has now been posted (staff calendar still being finalized) and can be viewed by clicking HERE.

March 21-25 - NO SCHOOL - Spring Break

April 8, 2022 - NO SCHOOL - Grading Day

April 11-14, 2022 - Parent/Teacher Conferences Occur

April 14, 2022 - EARLY RELEASE (times vary by school)

April 15, 2022- NO SCHOOL - Conference Hours Payback

May 30, 2022 - NO SCHOOL - Memorial Day