Dear St. Paul Community,
Please mark your calendars for March 4th and May 13th. The district calendar has been updated to include these dates as non-school days for students. This change has been made to accommodate additional workload for staff that has been created as a result of district operations during the pandemic. There will be no school on March 4th and May 13th.
OHA will lift the mask rule (333-019-1015) in schools across Oregon effective for schools starting April 1st. The Oregon Department of Education has stated that the decision to require universal masking in school settings will rest with decision makers in school districts, charter schools, private schools, and local public health authorities. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OHA, and ODE 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.
Masks are required on public transportation, which includes school buses until lifted by the federal government and cannot be waived by state or local authorities. During the months of February and March, we will monitor the situation in St Paul closely. It is my intention to bring a recommendation to the board that will highlight optional mask wearing in all St Paul public schools starting April 1, 2022, as allowed by the removal of rule (333-019-1015). Myself, along with a large number of staff and community members are looking forward to taking one more step toward normalizing life in our schools.
• Oregon has fared better than almost every state in the nation throughout the pandemic with some of the lowest cases (3rd lowest) and death rates (8th lowest) in the country, because Oregonians made smart choices, like wearing masks and getting booster shots.
• A large majority of Oregonians wear masks: According to OHSU, 8 in 10 Oregonians report that they continue to wear masks indoors.
• Masks have protected our in-person learning and our health care system:
• And, once hospitalizations subside it will be safer to lift mask rules in some communities and manage the pandemic differently – with more local decision-making for school districts, counties, and businesses.
Joseph M. Wehrli
St. Paul School District