Dear St Paul School Community,
I hope this letter finds your family and friends safe, healthy, and enjoying the start of the new year! We are thankful that our students are able to return to school following the winter break and will continue to focus our efforts on student and staff safety, accelerated learning, and school related activities that promote the social emotional health of our students. Today we received an update to the Ready Schools Safe Learners Guidance for school districts in Oregon. In response to this update, the district will reestablish our daily wellness checks including temperature checks for students as we welcome them back to in-person learning in our district. We are also excited to welcome our Parochial students back to our in person school lunch program at the elementary school. The Omicron variant has established itself in Oregon and is forecast to reach peak infection rates in Oregon in late January through mid February. In order to mitigate its impact on our school community, we are continuing with our layered mitigation strategies (see chart below). We have been advised by the Oregon Health Authority that due to the indoor nature of winter activities that it is essential that we follow mask protocols to avoid rapid transmission of the highly contagious Omicron variant. We have already been contacted by individuals connected to our schools that have tested positive over the break and as a result, we will have staffing and student attendance implications for our district in the coming weeks. As a district, we are continuing to follow the health department guidelines for the isolation of students who test positive and the quarantining of individuals who are directly exposed. In addition, we adopted and will continue to implement the test to stay protocol for students who have been exposed to covid but meet specific criteria for “test to stay”.
Clarification to test to stay protocol
The test to stay protocol is a form of modified quarantine which allows students and staff exposed to a COVID-19 case in a school setting to continue to attend school if they remain symptom free and test negative upon exposure and at 5-7 days after exposures. Test to stay is a key element for our unvaccinated students and staff to remain learning in-person while still keeping our community safe.
It is important that the district have the permission to test form on file for each student in order for them to participate in the test to stay program if that becomes necessary in order to keep them in attendance at school. These forms are available at each school office.
It is my hope that continuing to remain vigilant and by adhering to all layered health and safety protocols that we will be able to remain in school and offer all available intra and extra curricular activities for the remainder of the school year.
Thank you for your continued support.
Joseph M. Wehrli
St. Paul School District