COVID-19 Information and Updates

The Bethel School District is thrilled to have students back in buildings this school year to attend classes on-site full-time, five days a week, after more than a year of distance learning and hybrid on-site/online learning.

As a school community, Bethel strives to provide clear, consistent and transparent communication as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Bethel is committed to providing updated information regarding health and safety requirements, COVID procedures and policies, as well as up-to-date data regarding positive COVID cases in our schools as regularly as possible. Information provided on this page is subject to change with updated recommendations, guidelines and data. 

Information about the pandemic, school health and safety measures, and supports for families can be found throughout this page. Have questions? Reach out to communications@bethel.k12.or.us. 

Bethel COVID-19 Dashboardscreenshot photo of the Bethel COVID-19 dashboard

COVID-19 cases identified in schools will be tracked in a publicly accessible online dashboard. The dashboard displays information regarding the number of current and past positive cases within each school, beginning Sept. 17. The dashboard also displays data for the number of students and staff who are actively quarantined due to an exposure or positive case. Active cases are not necessarily due to an exposure or positive case at school.

Versión en español: Tablero COVID-19 Del Distrito Escolar de Bethel.

This dashboard allows for increased transparency and community access to pertinent information about COVID-19 in our school community. Families who are interested in seeing the number of active cases and quarantines at their student’s school can view this information at any time. Data is updated at least twice per week.

COVID-19 Terminology and Definitions

Isolation: If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate for 10 days and must be symptom-free before returning to school. Isolation separates people with a contagious disease from other people to prevent disease spread (determined by local public health authority).

Quarantine: A student or staff member who is directly exposed to a positive COVID-19 case must quarantine for 14 days. Students and staff who are quarantined due to a direct exposure to COVID-19 cannot shorten their quarantine period per LCPH and OHA. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease.)

Exclusion: If a student or staff member is excluded from school, regardless of whether they have been directly exposed to a positive COVID-19 case, they must remain home for 10 days OR receive a negative COVID-19 test AND be symptom free before they return. Exclusion means keeping a student with symptoms or diagnosis of a contagious disease out of school to prevent possible disease spread,

Positive Confirmed Case: A person has tested positive for COVID-19 and must isolate from others at home. 

What is a close contact?

The CDC defines close contact and potential exposure as a person who has been near a person with COVID-19, within 6 feet for more than 15 cumulative minutes in a 24-hour period, starting from 2 days before the onset of illness. Under CDC and OHA guidance, in a school setting, students are not considered to be close contacts of a person with COVID-19 if they were 3 feet or more apart and both students were consistently and correctly, using well-fitting masks.

When to quarantine (LCPH)

Current direction from public health is that fully immunized individuals who were in close contact with a person with COVID do not need to be quarantined if they do not have symptoms and have not had a positive COVID test. However, they should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days, and if symptoms develop they should isolate and seek testing.

Unvaccinated people who are exposed to a positive COVID-19 case must quarantine for 14 days after last exposure (LCPH). LCPH does not allow for a shortened quarantine after exposure for unvaccinated people. District nurse staff utilize this exclusion summary chart as a guide to help determine which students and staff need to quarantine at home. 

Illness exclusion guidelines – For a summary chart regarding exclusions, click here.

Students and staff members may be excluded from school if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of whether they have been exposed to a positive case. The “primary” COVID-19 symptoms require exclusion from school.

Primary COVID-19 symptoms include the following:
• Fever of 100.4 F or higher
• Chills
• Cough
• Shortness of breath
• Difficulty breathing
• New loss of taste or loss of smell 

The “non-primary” COVID-19 symptoms can be seen with many other illnesses, including COVID-19. The non-primary symptoms do not always require exclusion.

Non-Primary symptoms include the following: 

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache 
  • Sore throat 
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 

For a more detailed breakdown of exclusion based on symptom, see pages 8-9 of this document.

In some cases of primary exclusion, students may be able to provide a negative COVID-19 test to return to school. Families can provide negative test results from any type of COVID-19 test directly to their school. Local testing opportunities can be found here: bit.ly/LaneCOvaccines  Students and staff who are quarantined due to a direct exposure to COVID-19 cannot shorten their quarantine period per LCPH and OHA.

Parent and Staff Notification 

The Bethel district is committed to open communication with staff and families. When a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the Bethel district works through a detailed process outlined by Lane County Public Health to determine anyone who may have been exposed and provides information accordingly. Our goal in sharing information is to keep staff and families well informed while maintaining confidentiality and honoring each person’s right to privacy to the extent possible.

Bethel’s step-by-step process of communication when there is a positive student or staff case

    1. When a positive case is identified in a person who has been at school or in a district workplace, district nurses and administrative staff conduct contact tracing for the time the person was at school or work, to identify any people who may have been exposed.
    2. Bethel district nurses identify any susceptible (unimmunized) students or staff who were exposed to the infected person, also known as “close contacts.”
    3. Close contacts are notified directly by phone, email or text and given the quarantine timeline for earliest return to school (14 days from the last date of exposure).

Who receives direct notifications?

Families and staff who are directly impacted (and who need to quarantine) will receive information via phone call from the school or district. Those same families will also receive an email or text from the school or district. Students and staff who are not determined to be a “close contacts” and do not need to quarantine will not receive communication from the school. A total count of positive cases and exposures is displayed by school on the district’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

As required by privacy laws, our communications will not identify a particular student or staff member as having COVID-19, or disclose other personally identifiable information about that person without their prior written consent.

Health and Safety Protocols – How families can help

The Bethel School District continues to follow county and state guidance to ensure a high standard of safety protocols are in place to reduce the likelihood of transmission between people at school. When consistently adhered to, the district’s safety protocols have helped limit the number of individuals who have needed to quarantine as a result of exposure at school or work. There are a number of ways that families can help to slow the spread of COVID-19 within our community: 

Getting vaccinated: anyone 12 and older can get a safe, free COVID-19 vaccine. Fully vaccinated students are not required to quarantine when exposed someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. To find a local vaccination clinic or event, visit this site: bit.ly/LaneCOvaccines.

Staying home when sick

The Bethel district is thrilled to be serving students in person this fall. In an effort to continue in-personGraphic portraying when students should stay home learning, we ask that students stay home from school when they are feeling ill. In addition, students must stay home if they are experiencing symptoms, are COVID positive, or know they have been exposed to COVID-19. This helps to keep students and staff from becoming ill and allows other students to continue learning in the classroom. More details from Oregon Department of Education, here. 

Notifying the school when their student has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Bethel district asks that families notify their school when they have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive, or when they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Lane County Public Health is overwhelmed with test result information sent to them by dozens of testing sites and positive test information is not always shared immediately. 

shows and states how to correctly wear a mask

Getting tested: If one person in a household has a cough, fever, shortness of breath, or new loss of taste or smell, they and everyone in the household should get tested for COVID-19, three to five days following a known exposure. 

There are a number of local testing sites available to students and staff in the district. 

Wearing a mask indoors in public, outdoors in public when in a crowd, and when around people who may not be vaccinated.