Good morning, Silver Falls Families.

Monday afternoon, Superintendent Drue met with representatives from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), Oregon Health Authority (OHA), as well as other Superintendents from across the state. The topic of this meeting was the mask mandate discussed in our communication to you from last Friday.

As you know, Silver Falls School District maintained that we would not require masks for the upcoming school year when the choice was ours to make. With the choice not ours to make, we will follow the law while continuing to advocate for the return of complete local control and decision making.

Monday’s meeting provided us some new information about OHA’s new guidance. The first component we’d like to highlight is that this is not a year-long mandate. At this time, the plan is for the Oregon Health Authority to reassess the need for masks in schools on a monthly basis.

We’ve outlined the key components of the new rule for you below:

  1. The new requirement went into effect August 2nd.
  2. Masks will be required for all individuals while indoors during the school day.
    • Masks will also be required on school buses at all times. (Note: this is not a change – it is part of a larger federal mandate related to transportation.)
  3. Masks will not be required either before or after school during non-academic activities, such as sports, etc.
    • We will continue to have strategies in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 and its variants for our student athletes. Our athletic departments will share more on this topic with athletes and their families.
  4. Masks will not be required during certain academic activities which can’t be reasonably performed while wearing them (such as playing a musical instrument that requires using the mouth during band or music classes, for example). There will be some other exceptions as well, and we’ll communicate those to impacted teachers and leaders to ensure they communicate that to the appropriate students and their families.

We continue to encourage those with feedback on this new guidance to communicate that directly to the appropriate authorities. We’ve heard from many in our community who would like to know the process for contacting state politicians and agencies. We have compiled that information for those interested, below:

We are committed to keeping you informed about this and other issues as we count down the days to the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. We hope you’re having a nice Summer, and we can’t wait to see all of our students back in school this year for a full five-days per week schedule.