Ready Schools, Safe Learners: FAQs

What schools are required to follow ODE’s “Ready Schools, Safe Learners” guidance?
The “Ready Schools, Safe Learners” guidance applies to any K-12 public school in Oregon. This includes schools within a school district, education service district, or public charter. It also includes Juvenile Detention Education Programs (JDEP), Youth Correction Education Programs (YCEP), Long Term Care and Treatment Programs (LTCT) and the Oregon School for the Deaf.

The guidance also applies to private schools, including parochial schools, providing K-12 instruction.

Will the guidance be updated?
Yes, ODE will be updating the guidance as we get closer to re-opening dates, and throughout the school year as needed. The current version of the guidance (1.5.8) was released on June 30, 2020. ODE has announced it will release another update to the guidance on July 21, 2020.

When will ODE release its Comprehensive Distance Learning guidance?
ODE released its supplemental “Comprehensive Distance Learning” guidance on June 30. You can review that guidance HERE.

When do districts need to have their plans submitted to ODE?
By August 15 or prior to the beginning of the 20-21 school year, whichever is earlier.

Who has to approve the district plan prior to submission to ODE?
Districts are asked to consult with key partners in building the district plan and submit the plan to their local school board and local public health authority prior to submission to ODE. The guidance also requires that reopening plans be made available to the public.

The guidance does not specifically require approval from any specific body prior to being submitted to ODE.

Local public health authorities may reach out to schools and ask for adjustments to their Operational Blueprints at any point they think necessary during the school year.

For staff who are high risk, what options do they have for choosing the type of work they do?
If the ADA and/or state anti-discrimination statute is triggered because a person has a qualifying ‘disability’ or is viewed by the employer as having a qualifying disability, and the employee raises the accommodation issue with the employer, the employer must engage with the employee in a discussion about “reasonable accommodation(s).” In this interactive process, the parties can get somewhat creative when it comes to altering work type, schedule, etc.

How does a student get cleared to come back to the classroom if they don’t have a fever?
ODE guidance says that students and staff must remain home until 72 hours after their fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medicine and other symptoms are improving.

If a staff member or a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must remain home for at least 10 days after the onset of the illness and 72 hours after their fever is gone, without the use of fever reducing medicine. Alternatively, an individual who tested positive may return to school after receiving two subsequent negative COVID-19 tests taken at least 24 hours apart.

Some students and staff have chronic conditions that are similar to COVID symptoms. How will they be screened?
Chronic conditions are addressed on pp. 16-17 of the guidance. We expect clarification in the July 21 version of the guidelines.

Will staff be able to sign a waiver and elect not to wear a mask?
If masks are required, there will most likely not be any sort of waiver.

Do staff need to wear a mask at all time while on campus?
This currently is for local clarification. The ODE guidance leaves room for masks to be worn only when performing job duties, e.g. once a bus driver is done with their route and there are no more students mask could come off. However, OEA recommends that educators wear masks at all times while on campus.

Will students be required to wear face coverings?
ODE guidelines currently do not require students to wear face coverings. The guidance does recommend face coverings for students in 6th – 12th grade, especially in circumstances when physical distancing cannot be maintained.