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Back to School Safety Update
Back to School Safety Update
Jennifer Richardson
Tuesday, August 31, 2021

McKenzie Families,

We are committed to the health and safety of our students, staff and community.

As you know, Gov. Kate Brown recently announced that Oregon would require all public and private school teachers, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Oregon school staff will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Oct.18. Exceptions may be made for eligible medical or religious reasons. 

We will continue to align ourselves with the The Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework. We will be following those guidelines. Our priority is to safely bring students back to school full-time, and keep schools open and kids in classrooms throughout the school year.

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. Everyone age 12 and over is eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 now. Authorization of vaccines for youth under 12 is expected this fall or winter. Lane County Public Health will be hosting a vaccination clinic for eligible students at our Welcome Back BBQ Friday, September 17th.

Face Coverings: We will follow Oregon Health Authority’s 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.

Cohorts: 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. 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.

Visitor Policy: Visitors must wear face coverings and check in at the office for health screening. Visitors will not be allowed in the building past the office. 

Quarantining and contact tracing - If we have a confirmed case of COVID at school, we will work directly with our district and Lane County Public Health to communicate with families. If students must quarantine, they will have access to class materials and assignments. 

Comprehensive Distance Learning will not be offered this coming year due to low enrollment and staff availability. However, we are committed to supporting families in accessing the education that best fits their student's needs.

We want the 2021/2022 school year to be a success. As we return to school this fall, we must all do everything we can to keep our children safe, healthy and able to attend school. Thank you for your continued understanding and patience with our team as we work with the continual changes.

I am here to answer any of your questions and concerns.

Go Eagles!

Lane Tompkins,

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