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Oregon Department of Education releases rules for new mask requirement

In-person learning at Monroe Middle School

If a district doesn't follow the guidance, they could face a $500 fine per day until they comply.

Posted: Aug 2, 2021 10:23 PM

SALEM, Ore.-- The Oregon Department of Education released its guidelines for the indoor mask requirement at K-12 schools.

According to the department, the mask requirement goes into effect immediately and enforcement will start on Aug 12. Officials said masks will be required for the rest of summer school and the first part of the 2021-22 academic year. If a district doesn't follow the guidance, they could face a $500 fine per day until they comply. 

The Oregon Health Authority can also take additional action but it's unclear what that would be. Individually licensed educators, like teachers, could also face their own penalties. 

Masks will be required for students, staff, and visitors in all buildings during school hours. They will also be required during field trips or off-campus activities.

Mask will not be required if an individual is actively eating or drinking, sleeping, playing a musical instrument that requires a mouthpiece, engaged in a sport during physical education class such as swimming, gymnastics, or wrestling, alone in a private office enclosed by walls on all sides with the door closed, and those under the age of two.

When it comes to after-school sports, masks will not be required but are highly recommended. The Department of Education is leaving that decision up to local school districts.

The department also said this mask rule will not be for the whole school year. Officials will look at cases monthly and the goal is to return mask decisions back to local control. 

If a student or a family refuses to wear masks, the school may move them back to remote learning.

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