New school advisory in effect


SALEM—The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released a “School Health Advisory for Continuity of Instruction” on Monday (May 13), recommending a layered approach to respiratory disease prevention.

The advisory is in effect statewide until Aug. 31, 2022.

 The agencies have partnered to prioritize safety protocols while continuing full-time, in-person school for all students.

“We know our students learn best in-person, where they have access to critical support and services,” the announcement stated.

ODE and OHA last issued a School Health Advisory on March 2, 2022. That advisory was in effect until April 30, 2022.

This advisory is in direct response to the change in CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Community Levels seen in six counties in Oregon over the last two weeks and the rise of respiratory disease in communities across Oregon.

Monday’s School Health Advisory is designed to help schools work with local partners to continue to operate in-person through the remainder of the school year.

As students and staff have gathered indoors without face coverings for protection, Oregon has experienced an increase in cases of respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. The combined burden of COVID-19, flu and other respiratory viruses co-occurring in Oregon communities means that schools will need to continue to be vigilant about health and safety in order to protect in-person instruction.

For several weeks, most counties in Oregon have been categorized as "low" by the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels. This week six counties (Columbia, Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, Benton, and Deschutes) are categorized as "Medium”, prompting the advisory.

“Our north star remains ensuring equitable access to in-person instruction all day, every school day, for every student,” stated the release.

The agencies point to the knowledge and operational experience school leaders have gained implementing layered mitigation safety protocols over the last two school years as key to maintaining in-person instruction.

Implementing layered mitigation can prevent illness and keep students in school learning with teachers and staff. When school communities have illness rates that result in high numbers of staff and student absences, the agencies advise leaning into the protection offered by layered mitigation safety protocols.

Districts and schools are also advised to maximize implementation of layered mitigation strategies, including recommending face coverings or implementing universal use of face coverings, prior to contemplating a move to remote instruction or other closure of in-person instruction.

Schools and Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs) have partnered to provide support for respiratory disease outbreaks long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At this stage of the pandemic, we are returning to pre-pandemic protocols for respiratory disease outbreak management,” stated the release.

School leaders are requested to monitor their community for high rates of absenteeism or unusual spread of disease, and notify their LPHA if the certain thresholds are met.

For example, an elementary classroom of 25 students with five students absent, some with respiratory symptoms, would trigger a call to the LPHA partner.

LPHA response are expected to vary by region.

All LPHA partners will begin an outbreak investigation based on these respiratory disease thresholds and then report the outbreak to OHA. Some public health recommendations may include universal use of face coverings while an outbreak is active, utilizing the enhanced testing program within cohorts, or other infection prevention and control measures.

To maintain health and safety along with continuity of instruction during school this spring, OHA and ODE are issuing the following School Health Advisory.

 

For schools:

Schools should continue to closely monitor COVID-19 transmission within the county through COVID-19 Community Levels.

In alignment with CDC and ODE, OHA strongly advises universal masking in K-12 settings when COVID-19 Community Levels are high. At all levels, individuals may choose to mask based on their individual risk assessment (e.g., increased risk for severe disease or family or community members at increased risk for severe disease).

Schools should also continue implementing free COVID-19 testing programs for students and staff.

When districts or schools are considering a shift to remote instruction, they should first maximize implementation of layered mitigation strategies, including recommending face coverings or implementing universal use of face coverings, prior to contemplating a move to remote instruction or other closure of in-person learning.

Schools should monitor unusual absenteeism or illness within a cohort and notify their LPHA about unusual respiratory disease activity if the following thresholds are met:

  • At the school level: ≥ 30% absenteeism, with at least 10 students/staff absent.
  • At the cohort level: ≥ 20% absenteeism, with at least 3 students/staff absent.

If students or staff have COVID-like symptoms, schools must exclude the individual per OAR 333-019-0010 (3) and (4). Schools may offer COVID testing to the individual through OHA’s Diagnostic Testing Program.

 

For families and community members:

Community help is being enlisted to ensure children have consistent access to in-person instruction across Oregon. When illness spreads through our community, in-person instruction is threatened in schools and classrooms.

Community members are asked to keep a child away from school if they are sick with COVID-like symptoms. Local schools or pharmacies can be contacted regarding COVID-19 testing.

ODE and OHA are also recommending eligible students ages five and up to get vaccinated and boosted when they become eligible.

The agencies will continue to issue School Health Advisories to identify additional steps. These advisories may be regional or statewide.

For more information on how a local school is managing disease to ensure full-time, in-person instruction go to oregon.gov/readyschools.

SALEM—The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released a “School Health Advisory for Continuity of Instruction” on Monday (May 13), recommending a layered approach to respiratory disease prevention.

The advisory is in effect statewide until Aug. 31, 2022.

 The agencies have partnered to prioritize safety protocols while continuing full-time, in-person school for all students.

“We know our students learn best in-person, where they have access to critical support and services,” the announcement stated.

ODE and OHA last issued a School Health Advisory on March 2, 2022. That advisory was in effect until April 30, 2022.

This advisory is in direct response to the change in CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Community Levels seen in six counties in Oregon over the last two weeks and the rise of respiratory disease in communities across Oregon.

Monday’s School Health Advisory is designed to help schools work with local partners to continue to operate in-person through the remainder of the school year.

As students and staff have gathered indoors without face coverings for protection, Oregon has experienced an increase in cases of respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. The combined burden of COVID-19, flu and other respiratory viruses co-occurring in Oregon communities means that schools will need to continue to be vigilant about health and safety in order to protect in-person instruction.

For several weeks, most counties in Oregon have been categorized as "low" by the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels. This week six counties (Columbia, Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, Benton, and Deschutes) are categorized as "Medium”, prompting the advisory.

“Our north star remains ensuring equitable access to in-person instruction all day, every school day, for every student,” stated the release.

The agencies point to the knowledge and operational experience school leaders have gained implementing layered mitigation safety protocols over the last two school years as key to maintaining in-person instruction.

Implementing layered mitigation can prevent illness and keep students in school learning with teachers and staff. When school communities have illness rates that result in high numbers of staff and student absences, the agencies advise leaning into the protection offered by layered mitigation safety protocols.

Districts and schools are also advised to maximize implementation of layered mitigation strategies, including recommending face coverings or implementing universal use of face coverings, prior to contemplating a move to remote instruction or other closure of in-person instruction.

Schools and Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs) have partnered to provide support for respiratory disease outbreaks long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At this stage of the pandemic, we are returning to pre-pandemic protocols for respiratory disease outbreak management,” stated the release.

School leaders are requested to monitor their community for high rates of absenteeism or unusual spread of disease, and notify their LPHA if the certain thresholds are met.

For example, an elementary classroom of 25 students with five students absent, some with respiratory symptoms, would trigger a call to the LPHA partner.

LPHA response are expected to vary by region.

All LPHA partners will begin an outbreak investigation based on these respiratory disease thresholds and then report the outbreak to OHA. Some public health recommendations may include universal use of face coverings while an outbreak is active, utilizing the enhanced testing program within cohorts, or other infection prevention and control measures.

To maintain health and safety along with continuity of instruction during school this spring, OHA and ODE are issuing the following School Health Advisory.

 

For schools:

Schools should continue to closely monitor COVID-19 transmission within the county through COVID-19 Community Levels.

In alignment with CDC and ODE, OHA strongly advises universal masking in K-12 settings when COVID-19 Community Levels are high. At all levels, individuals may choose to mask based on their individual risk assessment (e.g., increased risk for severe disease or family or community members at increased risk for severe disease).

Schools should also continue implementing free COVID-19 testing programs for students and staff.

When districts or schools are considering a shift to remote instruction, they should first maximize implementation of layered mitigation strategies, including recommending face coverings or implementing universal use of face coverings, prior to contemplating a move to remote instruction or other closure of in-person learning.

Schools should monitor unusual absenteeism or illness within a cohort and notify their LPHA about unusual respiratory disease activity if the following thresholds are met:

  • At the school level: ≥ 30% absenteeism, with at least 10 students/staff absent.
  • At the cohort level: ≥ 20% absenteeism, with at least 3 students/staff absent.

If students or staff have COVID-like symptoms, schools must exclude the individual per OAR 333-019-0010 (3) and (4). Schools may offer COVID testing to the individual through OHA’s Diagnostic Testing Program.

 

For families and community members:

Community help is being enlisted to ensure children have consistent access to in-person instruction across Oregon. When illness spreads through our community, in-person instruction is threatened in schools and classrooms.

Community members are asked to keep a child away from school if they are sick with COVID-like symptoms. Local schools or pharmacies can be contacted regarding COVID-19 testing.

ODE and OHA are also recommending eligible students ages five and up to get vaccinated and boosted when they become eligible.

The agencies will continue to issue School Health Advisories to identify additional steps. These advisories may be regional or statewide.

For more information on how a local school is managing disease to ensure full-time, in-person instruction go to oregon.gov/readyschools.

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