Warn of possible disruptions, protests, 'challenging behaviors'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Nearly a dozen Central and Eastern Oregon school superintendents sent a letter to two state health officials this week, asking that school districts be aligned with other entities when mask mandates are lifted by the state, and not have to wait until March 31, as currently planned.
The 11 superintendents that signed off on the letter, including High Desert Education Service District Superintendent Paul Andrews, struck a friendly tone at the start of their letter, thanking state Public Health Director Rachael Banks and State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger “for your thoughtful and courageous guidance during the past two years and “grateful for your leadership in keeping students, staff and our communities safe.”
They requested that “school districts be afforded the opportunity to take the responsibility of mask guidance at the same time as our communities. If OHA releases the community portion of the state mask mandate earlier than the established March 31st cutoff, we respectfully request for school districts to align with this change, rather than waiting until March 31st, as currently established.’
The superintendents said “being out of sync with the rest of our respective communities … will be a tremendous hardship for our staff” and that it could lead to more “disruptions, protests and challenging behaviors,” or families who “just hold their students out of school,” while “it is likely that older students will refuse to wear masks and protest, rather than attending classes.”
“We also may have parents of elementary students escort their students into school without masks, in defiance of the state rule,” the letter said.
Here’s the full letter: