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With COVID Surging, Updated Health Advisory Issued For Schools In Oregon

SALEM, Ore. – With COVID-19 surging yet again, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education Friday issued an updated health advisory for schools.

The advisory comes as the CDC has listed six counties in the “medium” range for the virus.

Those counties are Columbia, Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, Benton and Deschutes.

Here is the advisory. It lasts until August 31st:

For schools:

  1. Continue to closely monitor COVID-19 transmission within your 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).
  2. Schools should continue implementing free COVID-19 testing programs for students and staff.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
    1. At the school level: ≥ 30% absenteeism, with at least 10 students/staff absent.
    2. At the cohort level: ≥ 20% absenteeism, with at least 3 students/staff absent.
  5. If students or staff have COVID-like symptoms, schools must exclude the individual per OAR 333-019-0010 (3) & (4). Schools may offer COVID testing to the individual through OHA’s Diagnostic Testing Program.

For families and community members:

We need your help to ensure our children have consistent access to in-person instruction across Oregon. When illness spreads through our community, in-person instruction is threatened in our schools and classrooms. You can help:

  1. If your child is sick with COVID-like symptomsdo not send them to school.
  2. Seek a COVID-19 test. Contact your local school about a testing kit or your local pharmacy.
  3. Eligible students ages 5 and up should get vaccinated and boosted when they become eligible.
    • Vaccination remains the best protection against serious illness from COVID-19 and reduces spread of the disease.
    • Get Vaccinated Oregon.

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