Revised Rural Health Metrics Highlight Planned Updates to Ready Schools, Safe Learners

Oregon Department of Education August 11, 2020 News Release:

The planned updates to 2020-21 school year guidance include more flexibility for rural and remote schools to offer in-person instruction, protocols for COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, supports for special populations, athletics, and more.

As part of its planned guidance review process, the Oregon Department of Education released updates today to Ready Schools, Safe Learners, the 2020-21 school year guidance.

Ready Schools, Safe Learners, developed under the direction of Governor Brown and in collaboration with Oregon Health Authority, provides a framework for schools for the 2020-21 school year that prioritizes the health and safety of all students and staff and the families they return to each day.

Flexibility For Rural And Remote Schools

The revised guidance gives rural and remote schools more flexibility to offer in-person instruction. The new metrics require close partnership between school districts and local public health authorities to oversee a return to in-person instruction in small communities not impacted by COVID-19. The metrics also clarify limited in-person opportunities in schools required to operate through Comprehensive Distance Learning. Our priority is to return to in-person instruction as soon as it can be accomplished with stability and safety.

Other updates to the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance include:

  • A new toolkit for planning for COVID-19 outbreak scenarios in schools. This toolkit is titled Planning for COVID-19 Scenarios in Schools.
  • Guidance to ensure equity and access for students served by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This guidance is titled Ensuring Equity & Access: Aligning Federal and State Requirements.
  • New additions to the Comprehensive Distance Learning guidance, including guidance for limited in-person instruction and supports, new requirements for meeting the needs of students without access to online instruction, and more. 
  • Many updates to safety protocols for On-Site and Hybrid instructional models, including clarification that face coverings are preferred over face shields, but face shields remain acceptable in some settings. (Page 33)
  • Recognizing the positive mental, physical, and emotional health benefits school sports provide for student athletes, ODE and OHA have revised athletic health and safety guidance to minimize the spread of COVID-19 while allowing for the conduct of low, medium, and non-contact sports, in line with the school sports calendar determined by the Oregon School Activities Association. At this time, full-contact sports such as wrestling, football, basketball, hockey, and cheerleading continue to be prohibited under ODE and OHA guidance
  • Updates on meal service (Page 44), transportation screening (Page 45), safety drills (Page 48) and more. 

The Comprehensive Distance Learning guidance, Ensuring Equity & Access: Aligning Federal and State Requirements guidance, and Planning for COVID-19 Scenarios in Schools toolkit are all part of Ready Schools, Safe Learners. These documents and the contents, tools, and links within them, are all linked from Ready Schools, Safe Learners, work in concert with each other and are considered part of the whole package of supports and guidance for school districts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s