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Fall Health and Safety Update
Fall Health and Safety Update
Jennifer Richardson
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Dear McKenzie Students, Staff and Families,

Our summer programming was so much fun and it was great to see our students having a great time on campus. I tip my hat to McKenzie staff members who put together some very engaging activities and guest educators that brought with them a variety of talents to share with our students.

As much fun as this summer has been, we have continued working in preparation for the return of the regular school session this coming September 8th. I wanted to take some time and write to you about McKenzie’s planned COVID-19 safety protocols for the beginning of the coming school year. 

As we have learned during the pandemic, the situation is very fluid. Local conditions and guidance from state and local agencies are constantly changing which is why we thank you for your continued patience. 

In August, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released new guidance for schools through the The Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework. and we will be following those guidelines. Starting in the Fall we plan to align our protocols with those recommended in the Resiliency Framework as highlighted below.

Vaccinations: Vaccinations are proving to be the best defense against COVID-19. We will continue to work with Lane County Public Health to make vaccinations available to eligible populations in our community by hosting vaccination clinics. Lane County Public Health will be on site during registration August 24th and 25th hosting a vaccination clinic for eligible students and community members 9 am to 3pm as well as at our Welcome Back BBQ Friday September 17th.

Face Coverings: We will follow Oregon Health Authority’s new statewide rule (OAR 333-019-1015) requiring face coverings in all indoor school settings, both public and private, for all individuals two years and older, including all students, staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors. This rule is in response to the sharp uptick in the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon and the emergence of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19. Face coverings will also be mandatory on district buses due to CDC requirements for public transportation. 

Physical Distancing: Reflecting the guidance, we will continue to support and promote physical distancing of students and staff. We will continue to distance in classrooms, the playground and during transitions when students are standing in line. Floor markings will remain a fixture of McKenzie’s spaces.

Cohorting: Students will continue to be tracked and placed into stable cohorts to the greatest extent possible, especially in our younger grades who cannot benefit from vaccinations. Cohorting helps reduce the number of people exposed and helps identify those who may have been exposed in case of an identified COVID-19 case in the school.

Entry Screening, Isolation and Testing: Students will continue to be screened for illness when arriving at school each day. Preventing ill students from coming to school helps prevent the spread of many illnesses beyond COVID. Students who show sickness symptoms during screening or during the day will be referred to our isolation room in the elementary office, and parents will be notified to pick up their student. We will continue to provide COVID-19 rapid tests this year to ill students with parental consent. The District is required to exclude students who demonstrate primary symptoms of COVID-19 as we were last year.

Hand Hygiene: Regular hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer will continue to be emphasized throughout the school year. Practicing safe hygiene helps prevent the spread of COVID and other illnesses we regularly encounter at school.

Increased Sanitation: McKenzie’s custodial staff will continue focusing on increased sanitation efforts throughout the buildings, playgrounds and other common areas. 

Air Purifiers: Thanks to a generous donation by BlueAir last year, McKenzie’s classrooms will continue to have HEPA filters in place during the year. This filtration can help ensure cleaner air for students and staff.

Increased Airflow: Buildings will continue to be opened up as much as possible, including doors and windows to get more fresh outdoor air circulated into classrooms.

Training: Regular training for staff regarding health and safety protocols will occur at the beginning of the year and regularly during the remainder of the school year.

Comprehensive Distance Learning will not be offered this coming year due to low enrollment and staff availability. We are committed to supporting families in accessing the education that best fits their students needs.

By continuing to work together, we can ensure a great 2021-2022 school year. Our district believes that these measures, coupled with ongoing, frequent hand washing breaks and a shared commitment to staying home when you are sick, will help us all remain healthy and safe this coming year.

Lane Tompkins,