Will masks be required for the 2021-2022 school year?
Yes, all students and staff will be required to wear masks inside school buildings as part of a state mask mandate announced August 13.
All students and staff are required to wear face coverings indoors following a statewide indoor mask mandate from Gov. Kate Brown. It is highly recommended by Lane County Public Health that students and staff also wear masks outside when unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from one another. More here: bit.ly/3B71NsY
All individuals (age 5 and older) are required to wear face coverings in all indoor school settings, both public and private, regardless of vaccination status, as mandated by the state of Oregon. This rule includes all staff, students, volunteers and visitors. Additional details can be found in the latest RSSL Resiliency Framework.
Are masks required outdoors?
Beginning Friday, August 27th, masks became required in most public outdoor settings when physical distancing is not possible (Oregon mask mandate). During the school day, masks are not required during outdoor recess or when a classroom is meeting outdoors. However, physical distancing is still highly recommended when possible in all school environments. CDC Guidance on Masks
Students Students are not required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors when practicing or playing a competitive sport at any level.
Students not actively participating (i.e. on the sideline during an indoor or outdoor competition, etc.) are required to wear a mask.
Students are required to wear a mask when in the weight room. Students will not be required to wear a mask when actively participating in outdoor sports. Students who are not actively participating must wear a mask at school-related events when they are not able to physically distance from others, regardless of vaccination status.
Coaches, support staff and contest officials Regardless of vaccination status, coaches, officials and spectators are required to wear a mask during indoor practices or competitions. This includes weight training regardless of location. Coaches and support staff, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask during outdoor practices and competitions when six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.
Spectators Spectators (5 years and older) are required to wear a mask at indoor practices and competitions, regardless of vaccination status. Spectators (5 years or older) are also required to wear a mask at outdoor practices and competitions when six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained, regardless of vaccination status. This includes the football stadium and other spaces where spectators gather. This is part of a statewide mask mandate.
What’s Bethel’s process for when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
If a positive COVID-19 case is identified at our school, the district will coordinate with Lane County Public Health (LCPH) regarding communication.
When there is a positive student case, the district will coordinate with Lane County Public Health regarding communication. Bethel district nurse staff will complete contact tracing protocol. Any students or staff identified as susceptible (unimmunized) close contacts who were exposed to the infected person will be notified and given the quarantine timeline for earliest return to school (14 days from the last date of exposure). 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.
– LCPH does not allow for a shortened quarantine after exposure for unvaccinated people, quarantine remains in place for 14 days after exposure to the positive COVID-19 case). – When an event occurs in our school or district, families and staff that are directly impacted (and who need to quarantine) will receive information via phone call or email from the school or district. Students and staff who are not determined to be a “close contact” and do not need to quarantine will not receive communication from the school – 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.
What sort of quarantine protocol is being followed in the Bethel district? (OHA)
As an overall framework:
● People who have COVID-19 should isolate for 10 days after their symptoms started ( or, if they have no symptoms, for 10 days after the test date) and 24 hours after any fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medicine and other symptoms are improving; follow all instructions from the LPHA.
● Any person who has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 should quarantine at home. Although a 14-day quarantine is the safest option to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others, the LPHA may recommend shortened quarantine periods in some instances; follow all instructions from the LPHA. If symptoms develop during the quarantine period, the person should isolate and seek testing. The following are exceptions to quarantine:
● Close contacts who have been fully immunized with a COVID-19 vaccine according to the ACIP schedule (received both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine) and are at least 14 days beyond completion of the vaccine series at the time of their exposure are not required to quarantine. Fully immunized close contacts should still monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14 days after exposure, and if symptoms develop they should isolate and seek testing.
● Close contacts who themselves had a previous confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 case (verified by a positive viral COVID-19 test and/or LPHA) and have completed their isolation are not required to quarantine if the new exposure happened within 90 days of symptom onset or first positive test, whichever is earlier, for their original case.
Do vaccinated students need to quarantine?
No. If a fully vaccinated student or staff member is considered to be a “close contact” of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they are not required to quarantine. Close contacts who have been fully immunized with a COVID-19 vaccine according to the ACIP schedule (received both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine) and are at least 14 days beyond completion of the vaccine series at the time of their exposure are not required to quarantine. Fully immunized close contacts should still monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14 days after exposure, and if symptoms develop they should isolate and seek testing.
When are students excluded from school? How is that determined?
The Bethel District follows the state’s COVID-19 Exclusion Summary Guidance for K-12. The chart can be viewed here: https://bit.ly/39f4Tz6
How are COVID-19 cases being tracked?
The Bethel nurse team is working diligently to identify and perform contact tracing in collaboration with LCPH during this time of greatly increased COVID-19 cases in Lane County.
What prevention strategies are being utilized in Bethel Schools?
Right now, the best tools to protect individuals from COVID-19 are vaccination for those eligible, physical distancing, face coverings, adequate ventilation and airflow, hand hygiene, and staying home when ill or exposed to COVID-19. Multiple layers of health and safety precautions, including all of those listed here, will be in place in all Bethel schools and buildings for the 2021-22 school year.
The Bethel District will continue to utilize layered prevention strategies to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Some of those measures include disinfecting high-touch surfaces, promoting frequent hand-washing and hand sanitizing, and physical distancing (3 feet) to the extent possible.
When should students and staff stay home from school?
Staff and students are expected to stay home when they are sick. Families should continue to screen their students prior to every school day and keep them home if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Here’s a chart that can help to determine when a student or staff member should remain home due to potential illness: CDC: What to do when you are sick.
Are visitors allowed in Bethel Schools?
At this time, we are only allowing for necessary personnel inside district schools.
What sort of vaccination requirements are in place in Bethel Schools?
Vaccination remains the safest and most effective way to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 and all of its variants (OHA).
All K-12 school district employees, substitutes, and volunteers are required to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18, 2021. This statewide K-12 mandate announced by Governor Kate Brown will allow Bethel to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, adding another layer of mitigation for our younger students who have not yet had the opportunity to become vaccinated.
Lane County Public Health is offering a number of vaccination opportunities across the district, including a clinic from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday at Cascade Middle School. All vaccination opportunities are free! Learn more here: Lane County Vaccine Clinics.
Will students and staff be required to physically distance while at school?
Physical distancing for students and staff will be maintained to the extent possible inside schools. OHA and ODE strongly advise that schools support and promote physical distancing in all daily activities and instruction, maintaining at least 3 feet between students to the extent possible.
What will happen if COVID-19 data and conditions change?
A number of COVID-19-related updates were issued by state and local agencies over the summer in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases. As we all experienced last year, these protocols are frequently updated based on the latest data about COVID-19. The protocols below are accurate as of today, but could change depending on further guidance from the Oregon Department of Education or the Oregon Health Authority. If you would like further specifics from the state, please review the Ready Schools Safe Learner Resiliency Framework for additional clarification.
What steps are being taken to care for students this school year?
For the first two weeks of the school year, the Bethel School District will focus specifically on creating spaces where children feel safe, cared for and connected to the learning environment. We will focus our collective efforts on building relationships and community and creating welcoming spaces for everyone. Mental health is a cornerstone of good education and we believe that taking this time to connect with one another and make meaning of the last year will help us to set the foundation for the year ahead.
Care and connection events will look different at each school, but staff across the district will be united in their goal to connect with each student and help them feel welcome and cared for.