Dear St. Paul Community,
I am once again excited to share the following updated information with you regarding a time for optional mask wearing in our schools and at activities and events. Due to a recent alignment with the CDC, OHA, ODE and our local health authority, St Paul is able to allow optional mask wearing in our schools beginning March 14, 2022. This includes transportation on our school buses. Earlier this month, OHA announced that the K-12 mask rule would be lifted on March 31, but that has now changed. Current modeling from Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) indicates that hospitalizations will fall below 400 or fewer Oregonians per day by March 11, a level the state experienced before the arrival of the Omicron variant in Oregon.
“With declining case rates and hospitalizations across the West, Oregon, and Washington are moving together to update their masking guidance. After 11:59 p.m. on March 11, Oregon, and Washington will be adopting new indoor mask policies and moving from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools.
State policies do not change federal requirements, which still include masks on public transit. Statement from Oregon Governor Kate Brown: “Two years ago today (February 28), we identified Oregon’s first case of COVID-19. As has been made clear time and again over the last two years, COVID-19 does not stop at state borders or county lines. On the West Coast, our communities and economies are linked. Together, as we continue to recover from the Omicron surge, we will build resiliency and prepare for the next variant and the next pandemic. As we learn to live with this virus, we must remain vigilant to protect each other and prevent disruption to our schools, businesses, and communities––with a focus on protecting our most vulnerable and the people and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”
In Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority rules requiring masks in indoor public places and schools will be lifted after 11:59 p.m. on March 11. Other state and federal requirements, such as those for health care settings, public transit, and other specialized settings, will remain in place for a period of time.
Over the past several days, Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and OHA have been engaging with local school and public health officials. The St Paul school district will receive additional information regarding quarantine, isolation and health and safety protocols this week and I will send out another update on Friday. Thank you for your continued support.
Joseph M. Wehrli
St. Paul School District