Masks Optional Beginning March 14

News  /  Parents  /  Students

To Our David Douglas Community,

Students and adults entering David Douglas schools and facilities will no longer be required to wear masks as of Monday, March 14, though mask wearing continues to be encouraged, supported and welcomed for those who want or need that proven extra protection.

As you likely are aware, the State of Oregon previously announced that statewide indoor mask mandates would be lifted as of March 12, leaving decisions on whether to continue universal mask wearing in schools up to individual school districts.

Last night, the David Douglas School Board took public written and spoken testimony and discussed current recommendations around universal mask wearing. Ultimately, the Board decided to follow current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to make indoor mask wearing optional.

This was not an easy decision. We understand that feelings about mask mandates vary widely person to person and that many people feel very strongly about the issue.

We want to be clear that the David Douglas School District is committed to creating and maintaining a culture of acceptance and respect for each individual’s choice to wear a mask or not.

Masking remains an effective way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we strongly encourage anyone who chooses, or is at higher risk or who lives with someone at higher risk, to continue to wear masks indoors at school. 

People have many different reasons to continue wearing masks, which could vary greatly depending on the situation, and we shouldn’t assume to know what they are. If there is one thing we all must do moving forward as we continue to navigate COVID-19, it’s respecting each other’s decisions. 

Other major points to understand:

  • The state has paused contact tracing and quarantine in the K-12 school setting. This means that, regardless of vaccination status, those who are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will no longer need to be quarantined as long as they remain symptom-free and do not test positive.
  • Those who have symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19 will still need to isolate themselves for 5 days, and it will be strongly recommended that they wear a mask for an additional 5 days after their isolation ends.
  • Masks will also no longer be required on school buses.
  • Per state mandate, masks will continue to be required in health care settings, which includes our Student Health Center or any other room in a school where some form of healthcare is delivered.

It’s important to understand that the state, county and ultimately school districts are guided by new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations around infection rates in local communities. If infection rates are high in a community, the CDC recommends universal masking for all. If infection rates are medium, the CDC recommends masking for those at higher risk of infection. If infection rates are low, the CDC does not provide any specific recommendations, leaving decisions to local control. Multnomah County is currently considered in the low category.

While the pandemic is waning for now, COVID-19 is likely here to stay. We urge all members of our community to continue to take steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe – wear masks if you choose or are at risk, wash hands frequently, ventilate indoor air to the extent possible, and isolate yourself when sick.

The only thing predictable about this pandemic has been its unpredictability. If infections once again begin to spike, we are prepared to bring back safety mandates based on CDC recommendations.

Most critically, if you are not fully vaccinated and boosted, please consider doing so. We know that vaccinations are highly effective in preventing illness, hospitalization and death.

We will continue to provide more specific information and updates in the days and weeks to come.

Thank you,

Your David Douglas School District