March 14 Mandate Changes

Important Message

March 10, 2022

Dear Rainier Families, Students, and Staff,

On February 28, 2022, the Oregon Health Authority announced that rules requiring masks in public indoor places be lifted after March 11, 2022.  In accordance with the recent announcement from Oregon Health Authority, the Governor’s office, and the Department of Education, this letter will provide details about how Rainier School District will be addressing the change in requirements surrounding COVID-19.

While we are excited to see decisions being shifted to local-control, it is important to remember that not all members of our community share in this excitement.  The change in masking protocols will be challenging for some and there will be a strong emphasis in respecting the choices of all people at RSD.  
Beginning March 14, 2022, the Rainier School District will implement the following expectations:

Masks Strongly Encouraged
With a steady decline in case rates and hospitalizations, wearing a face mask will no longer be required on campus, in district buildings, or on student transportation*.  Please understand that some students and staff will choose to wear a mask, while others will not.  It is critically important to respect the choices of all people, as we do not know their personal situation.  Rainier School District will not tolerate condemnation, shame, or judgement for the individual choices our students/staff make.  

*There will be a few exceptions to the optional masking rule.   
1) When staff are in close proximity to others for extended time, they will wear a mask,
2) Students seeking medical attention from the district nurse will be required to wear a mask
as medical offices still require the use of face coverings. This includes the requirement to mask if symptoms begin during the school day.

Contact Tracing, Quarantine, and Isolation
While the requirement to contact trace and quarantine has been eliminated, isolating a person with a positive or presumptive positive (as well as when symptomatic) is still required.  If a student is positive/presumptive positive, they are required to isolate for 5 days, and it is strongly recommended that they mask for days 6-10 out of respect for those with whom they come in contact.  If your child is ill with primary COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay home from school.  Other symptoms which are considered secondary should be monitored and consider evaluation from a healthcare provider.  The Oregon Department of Education has provided guidance for exclusion procedures that can be found here.   

Primary COVID-Symptoms requiring exclusion include:
Temperature of 100.4o F or higher or chills
Shortness of breath or Difficulty breathing
New loss of taste or smell

COVID-19 Testing
Rainier School District is thankful that we will have the opportunity to share with our students, access to COVID-19 testing when symptoms appear while at school.  This is an OPTIONAL program.  In most cases, test kits would be sent home with a parent/student to administer at home.  Our district nurse is also approved to provide on-site testing while at school.  Students under 15 would require parent permission, students 15 and above can self-consent per ORS 109.640(2)(a).  

Vaccine Requirement (STAFF/Volunteers ONLY)
While many of the requirements will expire after Friday, the requirement to have staff and volunteers vaccinated still remains in effect per OAR 333-019-1030.  More information will be made available in the coming days to those interested in volunteering at RSD.

Finally, we will be reteaching staff and students about the changes in requirements and how to handle the new requirements.  One of the primary goals of reteaching is to emphasize the importance of respecting everyone.  When working in close contact with other students or staff, we would love to hear students and staff ask, “would you like me to wear a mask while we meet”?  This simply recognizes mutual respect for one another.  Staff will be encouraged to respond to requests out of respect for others.

The past two years have presented an incredibly high number of obstacles, all of which have been faced head-on and been overcome with the support of this incredible community.  While COVID is not gone, I am incredibly grateful for all of the patience and endurance the Rainier staff, students, parents, and community have demonstrated.  

Now, more than ever before, it will be critically important to continue to exercise acceptance and respect to those people we encounter in our daily lives.  The pandemic has resulted in great losses, a divide in communities around the nation, as well as confusion and fear.  Let’s now join together to heal and grow as we support the students at Rainier School District.  There are learning losses that we must address, social-emotional needs that we can support, and symptoms of isolation that can be solved.  The Rainier School District has developed plans and will continue to do so to support our students in any way we can.  

Your partner in Education,

Dr. Joseph Hattrick

To download a PDF version of this letter, click here.