Dear Central Point School District Staff and Families,
We have seen a lot of changes in the past couple weeks. As you know, the State of Oregon passed a rule at the beginning of August requiring all students, staff, and visitors to wear face coverings while on buses and indoors at our K-12 schools. On August 12th, Governor Brown announced additional masking requirements in all public indoor spaces beginning on 8-13-21. We’ve received a lot of feedback about the rules and listened to public comments during our recent school board meeting. We have included some frequently asked questions below for parent review.
Even though the State of Oregon’s decision to require masks does not represent some of the Central Point community’s desires for reopening schools, it is still important that we follow the rules and do our best to offer a great experience for all involved. Ultimately, I nor the Board have the authority to defy the order.
Our primary focus is to open our schools, and keep them open, for five days of in-person, full time instruction.
Last spring, the single biggest feedback we received was around the impact of the rolling, unforeseen quarantines and disrupted learning that caused significant childcare challenges for our families. The new rules state that if all students are wearing masks properly indoors and seated three feet apart, they will not need to quarantine in the event of a positive case.
We also need to work as hard as we can to minimize the masking mandate’s impact on students throughout their school day. This is within our control and can be accomplished through thoughtful scheduling of breaks, use of outdoor options, and paying close attention to each student’s needs. We are intent on navigating these requirements with your concerns at the forefront of our decision making, planning and daily routines in school.
Both the School Board of Directors and I will continue to work within the parameters of local control and decision-making that is in the best interest of our School District. We welcome you to write to the Oregon Department of Education, local State Senators, Governor and State Representatives to use your voice at their respective positions of influence in the push for the reopening of schools.
Your school district will remain focused on preparation for a return to in-person instruction and alternative options for those that desire a different educational program. If you have not already filled out the survey indicating your choice of program for the upcoming year, please do so at this link. Your participation in the survey allows us to efficiently plan and allocate resources for students. Finally, please remember that the situation can change rapidly. We always strive to keep our community informed and we ask for your patience as we continue to respond to the shifting factors that impact schools.
Superintendent Central Point School District 6
What happens if the district refuses to implement the rule or I refuse to allow my student to wear a mask?
The Oregon Department of Education formally notified Superintendents across the state of enforcement measures for school districts that do not comply with the requirements. If the district or school violates the rule, we face significant monetary fines. OHA and ODE will refer complaints to OSHA for investigation. Willful negligence fines for a district of our size would amount to well over $100,000.00. Not following the mandate would also result in the district losing its liability coverage, and educators who intentionally disregard the rule could lose their teaching/administrative licenses. All of these violations would dramatically impact our ability to provide quality in-person instruction to students
What if I refuse to allow my student to wear a mask?
If a family refuses to allow their child to wear a mask, we will work with them to investigate different options for their child’s education. We are currently working on program offerings for those that need an alternative to attending school in-person.
What if my student cannot wear a mask due to medical reasons?
A student may have an exception to the rule written in their Special Education Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or families can provide a doctor’s note to their school for consideration. Oftentimes, when documentation is provided, face shields can be approved medical exceptions to a mask.
How long will the mask mandate last?
The Oregon Health Authority will reassess the rule at least every month with the intent to return districts to local decision-making when case rates decrease.
Are there any benefits to the mask mandate?
The quarantine rules are one of the biggest factors for schools to respond to. The new rules state that if all students are wearing masks properly indoors and seated three feet apart, they will not need to quarantine in the event of a positive case. Last year the quarantining made continual learning time for students and teachers challenging. Rolling, unforeseen quarantines disrupted learning and caused significant childcare challenges for our families. Additionally, face coverings can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses, keeping our school communities well and in school.
What about sports / activities?
Spectators will be required to wear a mask for indoor sporting events and activities. Students practicing or playing a competitive sport at any level and student activities, including but not limited to playing music, delivering a speech to an audience, and theater are not required to wear masks.