Exclusion day fast approaching for school vaccinations

Annual school exclusion day is Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Malheur County, and students who are not up-to-date on required vaccines may be excluded from school or day care on that day. While other Oregon counties have seen vaccines for school-aged children decrease during the pandemic, Malheur County’s children are largely in compliance with state requirements.

If you aren’t sure what vaccines your child needs, and at what age, this graphic is helpful.

Shots provide protection against getting serious diseases to the person who
receives them. Shots also help protect our friends, neighbors and communities by
reducing the number of people who could get the diseases. When enough people
are vaccinated, these diseases tend to stop spreading. Outbreaks of disease occur
more where people are close together for a long time, such as a schools or child
care.

Home-schooled and students in other non-traditional educational settings need to
meet the immunization requirements if:

  1. They meet with an instructor in a school building at least five times per
    school year; or
  2. Participate in sports, tutoring groups, field trips or other activities through a
    school-sponsored program at least five times per school year.
    Some online home school programs require immunization records for all enrolled
    students.

Oregon requires immunization against eleven vaccine-preventable diseases:
• Diphtheria
• Tetanus
• Pertussis (whooping cough)
• Polio
• Varicella (chickenpox)
• Measles
• Mumps
• Rubella
• Hepatitis B
• Hepatitis A
• Hib (Haemophilus influenzae
type B) – only for children
under 5 years of age

If you aren’t sure whether your child is up-to-date, contact the child’s medical provider or the Malheur County Health Department. The Health Department will host a walk-in vaccination clinic Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Bring your child to the clinic at 1108 SW 4th St. in Ontario to get them caught up.

Updated guidance for schools is released

As part of its planned guidance and metrics review process with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released an update to the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance.

The updated guidance includes updated advisory metrics for in-person instruction. The metrics are based on the latest COVID-19 studies and data and help Oregon’s schools make informed decisions about returning to in-person instruction.

While health metrics have shifted from required to advisory, schools must follow all the required guidelines. All staff must be trained on the first three sections of Ready Schools, Safe Learners and schools need to designate a school leader to implement, support and enforce health and safety protocols.

A new requirement, that when students and staff return to in-person instruction out of alignment with the advised metrics, schools must offer access to on-site COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students and staff identified on campus as well as those with known exposure to individuals with COVID-19.

The update also includes multiple new resources to support learning outside, field trips, equitable grading practices, attendance best practices, contact tracing partnerships, COVID-19 testing, and more.

A video of ODE Director Colt Gill explaining the updates is available.