Dear CSD Families,
Thank you for taking the time to read this important information regarding upcoming changes to Creswell School District COVID-19 policies.
As we’ve shared, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) announced that we are entering a new stage in the pandemic and the indoor masking mandate for Oregon’s schools is being lifted by Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on Friday, March 11, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.
How will this impact Creswell School District?
- Beginning Monday, March 14, 2022, face coverings will be recommended, but not required in CSD schools, facilities and transportation vehicles. We will be updating our Safe Return to In Person Instruction and Continuity of Services plan to reflect this change.
- Because individuals have varying comfort levels and unique personal and family health circumstances, we will continue to support students and staff who elect to wear masks at school. We expect that every member of our learning community will meet these choices with understanding and respect; any bullying or ridicule regarding an individual’s choice regarding masking will not be tolerated.
How was this decision made?
- Since the start of the pandemic, our COVID response has been guided by regulations and advice from public health experts. This decision aligns with new guidance from OHA, ODE,and Center for Disease Control (CDC).
- Statewide data indicates COVID cases and hospitalization rates are declining. Due to vaccinations, boosters, and the number of individuals who have been infected with Omicron, the level of community immunity across Oregon and in Lane County through the next 90 days, will be at 83% and above.
- CSD student attendance rates have improved since the peak of the Omicron variant in mid January 2022 at 68%, to levels in March 2022 at 93%, that we haven’t seen since pre-COVID, during the same months in 2020 at 94%.
- We hear the Creswell community. I’d like to thank the hundreds of parents, staff, students, and community members who shared feedback through our recent “masking in schools” survey. The results of the survey indicated that the overwhelming majority of the community (87.8%) are comfortable with optional masking in our schools at this time.
If you would like to learn more about key data and trends that helped inform our decisions, click here.
What else will change?
- Based on the updated guidelines, quarantine and contact tracing will also be paused in schools. Public health experts have made this recommendation due to how quickly omicron spreads, making contact tracing ineffective.
- Students and staff who are exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 will not be required to quarantine if they are asymptomatic.
- Parents will be notified when a positive COVID-19 case has been identified in a unique group (e.g. bus, classroom, grade level, etc.). These notifications will allow individuals and families to take additional precautions according to their individual needs.
What will not change?
- While coronavirus cases are declining, COVID-19 is still present in our community. Diagnostic COVID-19 testing remains available in our schools to students and staff with symptoms or exposure to COVID-19. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or become symptomatic after an exposure will still need to isolate for five days from the onset of symptoms or positive test and be fever free for 24 hours with improving symptoms before returning to school or work.
- We will continue to employ many mitigation strategies in our schools, including emphasis on handwashing and respiratory etiquette, support of physical distancing in daily activities and instruction to the extent possible, cleaning and sanitizing buses and facilities, and improved ventilation and air flow.
It has been two years since CSD schools originally closed and transitioned to distance learning due to the pandemic. Since that time, we have learned a great deal about how to protect our community, including vaccinations, boosters, testing, and more. While people’s views of OHA’s new guidelines may vary, I know we are united in our goal to provide Creswell’s children with the best education possible.
Because of the shift to optional masking, families will be provided an opportunity to change between on-site instruction at our schools and online education through Creswell Online Academy. Please contact your student’s school administrator by March 14th to discuss options and timelines.
Your cooperation with our protocols and keeping students home when symptoms occur has contributed significantly to keeping our schools open this year and I am grateful for your diligence. Thank you for your collaboration and ongoing support!
As always, I will update you as information becomes available to me.
With best regards,