Update Regarding Masks
August 3, 2021
A couple of weeks ago, we received new guidelines from the state reducing many of the mandates that were in place last year in relation to the pandemic and returning many of our decisions to local control. Unfortunately, last week the governor announced that she was retracting some of that control by making masks mandatory, rather than leaving this decision up to local districts to decide. This has been very frustrating and disappointing, but we will do our best to follow the guidelines that will help us stay in school full time this year.
In the meantime, we are working on our "Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan" that will include the safety measures we plan to take this school year to combat the effects of Covid-19. Included in this plan are social distancing, sanitizing, handwashing, masking, and other measures. In terms of masks, all staff, students, and visitors are mandated by the state to wear masks while indoors during the school day or when on the bus or on field trips. Masks will be optional when we are outside as well as during after school sports. Masks will also be optional during board meetings or when attending after school sporting events, regardless of whether we are indoors or outdoors.
Ultimately, our plan will be closely reviewed by our local health authorities and by our school board. As we all quickly realized last year, our best-laid plans can change very quickly. If there is a local outbreak, our plans and operations will change to meet the needs of our community. Our goal is to make this year as normal as possible for students, staff, and parents.
Please know that I will continue to work closely with other superintendents and our local legislators to return as much local control as we can to local school districts. If the state returns local control to school districts, as they should, we will change the mask requirement to optional. Again, we are going to lobby and do our best to change this requirement.
Also, remember that school begins for students on August 23rd. We will be operating full time and in person this school year. For parents and students who prefer an online format instead, we have online options available.
In the coming weeks, there will be announcements in the newspaper, radio, online, and many via email. If you ever feel like you still need more information, please do not hesitate to call one of our school offices.
Thank you for being part of our school district. We look forward to having a spectacular year.
Steve Quick, Superintendent
Harney County School District #3
550 N. Court Ave., Burns, OR 97720