As you know, the State of Oregon passed a rule requiring all students, staff, and visitors to wear face coverings while indoors in our K-12 schools. We’ve received a lot of feedback about the rule, in addition to some great questions. Here are our best answers to a few frequently asked questions:
What happens if the district refuses to implement the rule or I refuse to allow my student to wear a mask?
If the district or school violates the rule, we could be fined $500 per day, per violation. Not following the mandate would result in the district losing its liability coverage, and educators who intentionally disregard the rule could lose their licenses. It goes without saying, all of these violations would impact our ability to provide quality in-person instruction to students, which we don’t want!
If a family refuses to allow their child to wear a mask, the family will be asked to enroll their student in our virtual learning option, Medford Online Academy.
What if my student cannot wear a mask due to medical reasons?
We absolutely will work with you! A student may have an exception to the rule written in their Special Education Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or families can provide a doctor’s note to their school for consideration. Oftentimes, when documentation is provided, face shields can be approved medical exceptions to a mask.
How long will the mask mandate last?
The Oregon Health Authority will reassess the rule at least every month with the intent to return districts to local decision-making when case rates decrease.
Are there any benefits to the mask mandate?
More time in school for our students! The new rules state that if students are wearing masks properly and seated three feet apart, they will not need to quarantine in the event of a case. We know from our experience last year that quarantining made continual learning time for students and teachers challenging. Additionally, face coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses, keeping our school communities well and in school.
What about sports or after-school activities?
The Oregon Department of Education is allowing masks to be optional during optional activities, such as athletics and after-school activities that are not required as part of a student’s education. The Medford School District will allow masks optional at after-school athletics and activities that are not required as part of a student’s education.
On Tuesday, August 10, the Medford School Board will be having a Board meeting to discuss the rules and advocating for local decision-making at the state level. The meeting will be held at 5:30 PM at North Medford High School and available on live stream at this link: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/msbm/. Due to the increased number of COVID cases in Jackson County, the meeting space will not be open to the public. Written public comment will be accepted until noon August 10 at this link. A summary of comments will be shared at the meeting, and all public comments regarding face coverings will be provided to Board members and shared with the Governor’s office.
If you have any questions about the meeting please visit our website, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact 541-842-3621.