The Covid-19 vaccine and face masks will be optional for both students and staff in the coming school year, the Canby School Board decided Monday, and in-person instruction will be offered at all schools for five days a week.
The school board approved the new operational guidelines at the recommendation of new Superintendent Aaron Downs, who stepped into the new role on July 1.
“In my short time here, I have been collaborating with staff, community partners, and families as we plan for the 2021-22 school year,” said Downs, who was previously an assistant superintendent for the West Linn-Wilsonville School District.
Downs’ recommendations were based on feedback from teachers, officials, community members and a community survey that the district conducted online — in which responses had been overwhelmingly in favor of non-mandatory masks and vaccines and a five-day, in-person school week.
“The Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority have empowered school districts to make local decisions about Covid-19 health and safety protocols and mitigation strategies,” Downs said. “Our operational framework reflects local decision-making.”
While the district will not require any students or staff to wear masks inside school buildings, it is encouraging students, employees and visitors to do so if they have not been fully vaccinated, per CDC recommendations.
Physical distancing of three feet will be maintained to the extent possible, Downs said, and students, staff, and visitors will be asked to be mindful of physical distancing.
Individuals who have been in close contact with someone who is diagnosed with Covid-19 may be required to quarantine based on guidance from Clackamas County Public Health.
Fully vaccinated individuals, however, will not be required to quarantine.
Students and staff will not be required to receive the Covid-19 vaccine or disclose their vaccination status. However, they may voluntarily share this information in the event of exposure to Covid-19 to avoid quarantine.
There is no requirement for districts to offer comprehensive distance learning options for students.
Canby School District will follow OSAA guidance for indoor and outdoor athletic activities and adhere to facility capacity requirements.
Face coverings will be optional for all athletes and spectators during all school-sponsored clubs, sports competitions and practices, and activities.
“I want to thank those of you who took the time to respond to our survey,” Downs said. “Your thoughtful responses helped inform our plan. I look forward to the upcoming school year and getting to know our students, staff, families, and community members.”
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