North Santiam School District
July 13, 2021
Message from the Superintendent
As we move toward the 2021-22 School Year, the District is committed to keeping all stakeholders updated as our plans develop for the fall. With that in mind, the District plans to begin school with masks as optional for staff and students. The State does not intend to formally announce guidance for schools until later in July, so we cannot currently provide all of the details involving the daily operations of a school day, but we will continue to communicate those as they are developed. In the meantime, we will continue with masks for the remainder of summer school since the hours are limited and quarantines could make it nearly impossible to recover lost instruction time.
Please know our plans for 2021-22 are dependent on guidance from local and state health authorities and the OR Dept. of Education (ODE). It is important to understand that masks could go from optional to required should the infection rates increase in our community, but we remain hopeful that we can proceed as planned. One environment we know that will still require mask use is on school buses, unless it is lifted by the federal government. The CDC order for mandatory use of face coverings on public transit applies to school buses and cannot be waived by state or local authorities.
We recognize many families will request to remain on-line with their schooling, and the District will provide options for those students through our virtual learning program, Options Academy.
The District, in making masks optional, will still need to create a multi-layered system of protections. Included in our approach will be contact-tracing and quarantines for non-vaccinated students. Marion County does not require quarantines for vaccinated individuals and, therefore, those over the age of 12 are encouraged to vaccinate to avoid missing in-person instruction. We particularly emphasize that students who wish to engage in co-curricular programs this fall should consider beginning the vaccination process now so they are fully vaccinated by the time their sport or activity begins. Vaccines are not required for participation but an exposure and subsequent quarantine could impact playing time.
As always, we appreciate everyone's patience, support and cooperation. We look forward to the fresh start that a new school year brings and to brighter days ahead.
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