UPCOMING CHANGE TO STATEWIDE MASK REQUIREMENT
By the end of March, hospitalizations are projected to fall below pre-Omicron levels (fewer than 400 COVID-19 hospitalizations). Oregon has fared better than almost every state in the nation throughout the pandemic with some of the lowest cases (3rd lowest) and death rates (8th lowest) in the country, because Oregonians made smart choices, like wearing masks and getting booster shots.
If the predicted pathway continues, then no later than March 31, 2022 OHA will lift the mask requirements from the statewide indoor mask rule. If hospitalizations fall to safer levels more quickly, before March 31, state health officials will consider lifting the statewide mask rule sooner for indoor public spaces.
What does this mean for child care?
Until changes to the statewide indoor face covering rule takes effect (on or before March 31, 2022), adults and children kindergarten age and older are still required to wear masks indoors, and masks are recommended for age two and older. Details are contained in the “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” document posted on the Early Learning Division (ELD) “For Providers” webpage.
Masks are required on public transportation, which includes school buses until lifted by the federal government and cannot be waived by state or local authorities.
As announced last week, the updated guidance for quarantine and isolation periods from 10 days to five days in licensed child care settings only applies if an entire classroom or group wears masks. The ELD, in partnership with the OHA, highly recommends all individuals ages two and older wear masks. If an entire classroom or group does not wear masks, quarantine and isolation remains at 10 days. Masking helps to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread and allows for a shorter return after illness or exposure in child care settings with low rates of vaccination overall.
What can child care providers do to prepare?
The March 31 date gives programs time to prepare for the transition and gives providers time to get boosted, and for families to get their eligible children vaccinated. Some things a program can consider:
- Encourage eligible staff and children ages 5 and up to get vaccinated
and boosted now if they have not done so.
- Vaccination remains the best protection against serious illness from
COVID-19 and reduces spread of the disease.
- Vaccination prevents quarantine when exposed to COVID-19
and ensures continued access to in-person care.
- Get Vaccinated Oregon.
Frequently Asked Questions about isolation and quarantine in child care are posted on the ELD’s “For Providers” webpage and the “For Families” webpage. Click here to download the updated “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Recommendations and Requirements” guidance document. Providers with questions can contact their licensing specialist or email ProviderContact@ode.oregon.gov.
SAVE THE DATE: MARCH PROVIDER INFORMATION SESSIONS
Join the Early Learning Division (ELD) in March for an update on COVID-19 and rulemaking. Note: These meetings are planned for an extra half hour to provide adequate time for the topics.
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 | 6 to 7:30 p.m
All provider types. (Interpretation available)
Wednesday, March 2, 2022 | 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Spanish language. (All types)
Registration details coming soon.