(Update: adding video and information)
At the end of June the Oregon Department of Education released its draft Ready Schools, Safe learners guidance
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- While the Redmond School District just announced its COVID-19 outlines for summer school and the coming school year this fall, some other Central Oregon school districts are awaiting more guidance as they decide how to proceed.
One outcome of Oregon reaching the sought 70% adult vaccination rate was the state returning operating decisions to local school districts.
Redmond school officials said that based on current guidelines, they won't require mask use by students or staff, while encouraging those who want to wear them to do so.
“We wanted students and parents to know what their kids are in for, for the coming school year,” Public Information Officer Sheila Miller said Tuesday.
While school districts are able to make decisions in regard to COVID-19, one decision that’s out of the hands of school districts is mask-wearing on school buses. School buses are considered public transit and follow federal guidelines. At the moment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention require masks on public transportation. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/face-masks-public-transportation.html)
“Public school buses are public transit, so even though kids do not have to wear them in school by federal mandate for now, they have to wear them on buses,” Miller told NewsChannel 21.
The school district will continue encouraging eligible students and staff to get vaccinated. Schools will continue practicing 3-foot social distancing as much as possible, especially at the elementary school level.
Miller said it's important to get staff, schools and students back to normal as soon as possible.
“Schools and kids have gone through a whole lot over the last year and a half," Miller said. "It’s just been a constant change after change. They have missed out on events, and they have not gotten to participate in a lot of stuff.
"We really appreciate that so many people in our community have gotten vaccinated and have taken all of these precautions that have allowed us to bring our students back full time without masks. We are excited,” Miller said.
The Crook County and Jefferson County school districts said they are waiting for more guidance from the Oregon Department of Education. On June 25, the Oregon Department of Education released its draft Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance.
Bend-La Pine Schools is still discussing its COVID-19 guidelines. The school board is encouraging public comments at upcoming school board meetings.