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December 1, 2021

Revisions to Face Covering Rules & New Test to Stay Protocol in Oregon K-12 Schools 

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) have two substantive updates to share with schools; a change to the K-12 face-covering rule (OAR 333-019-1015) and OHA’s new test to stay protocol. 

Lifting the Outdoor Face Covering Requirement 

Changes to OAR 333-019-1025 and OAR 333- 019-1015 became effective on November 23, 2021, which revised the statewide indoor/outdoor face-covering rule and the K-12 face-covering rule. The revision to OAR 333-019-1025 maintains a statewide requirement for mask use in indoor settings and removes the requirement for everyone age five (5) or older to wear a face covering outdoors where people from separate households gather. Revisions to OAR 333-019-1015 remove the outdoor face-covering requirement for K-12 settings. LGSD has implemented this changes to our practices.

Keeping Students Learning In-Person: Test to Stay Protocol Highlights 

OHA and ODE developed a new “test to stay” protocol that will allow unvaccinated students and staff to participate in in-person learning as safely as possible while lessening the burden of  quarantine on students, families and staff. LGSD knows the critical importance attendance has on student success and the CDC considers test to stay a promising practice for minimizing quarantine and maximizing school days in school. 

OHA’s test to stay protocol allows unvaccinated students and staff to continue to participate in in person instruction in Oregon’s K-12 schools during their quarantine period. The risk of transmission is minimized in school settings because the required testing is combined with several layers of mitigation including universal masking, physical distancing, cohorting, and ventilation. 

∙ Test to stay is available only for unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals who were exposed in indoor and outdoor school settings where universal masking is fully in place. Indoor and outdoor exposures are reviewed for proximity and duration of exposure. 

∙ Test to stay requires unvaccinated individuals to be tested twice during the 7 days following exposure. First, as soon as the exposure has been identified, with a second test occurring between days 5-7 following the exposure. 

∙ Test to stay is a form of modified quarantine, which allows individuals to attend school during their 7-day quarantine period. However, individuals participating in test to stay are expected to maintain quarantine outside of classroom settings. 

∙ Students and staff participating in test to stay may participate in school-related extracurricular activities during their 7-day quarantine period but must wear a face covering at all times during these activities. 

∙ The CDC considers test to stay a promising practice for minimizing quarantine and maximizing school days in school. 

Note: Test to stay may not be used following extracurricular exposures because masking in these settings is optional and the risk of transmission within the cohort is greater. Similarly, test to stay may not be used following community or in-home exposures. LGSD will work with CHD, School Nurses, Building administration and staff to implement this update as soon as possible. 

∙ LGSD will continue to operate with current trained staff to utilize BinaxNOW point-of-care antigen tests. We will review training and follow all safety and protocol procedures. 

∙ LGSD will continue to obtain parental consent for testing students. 

The test to stay protocol is optional and is offered at no cost to participants. Unvaccinated students and staff have the option of following LPHA recommendation for length of quarantine if they do not consent to participate in test to stay. 

LGSD expects to implement the test to stay protocol in early December.