February 11, 2022
What Does OHA's Announcement Mean?
This announcement is welcome, but it is also very new. We still have not gotten the adopted rules and FAQ's that sort out the details. Following is my best attempt to explain what I do and don't know as of today.
- This decision allows the school board to decide what our masking policy will be in our schools beginning March 31, 2022, as long as our county health department allows us to do so.
- Students and adults will still have to wear masks on busses due to a federal law.
- If the school board decides to make masking optional, per OHA, we will not be able to use the test to stay protocol to keep exposed kids in school. This means a likelihood of more quarantines and more time out of the classroom for some students and staff if they are exposed to COVID-19.
- The vaccine mandate for school employees will still be law. It is currently unclear how this will impact unvaccinated staff who have exceptions to the vaccine mandate. We are awaiting answers from ODE as to whether they will have to continue wearing masks, or if they will be able to remove them.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OHA, ODE, and Jackson County Health all continue to strongly advise the use of face coverings in schools in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the impact of quarantine through the school year.
We will continue to gather information from ODE, OHA, and our local health authority regarding this change and do our best to keep you informed.