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    January 14, 2022

    Dear GBSD Families and Staff,

    We have an update for you on changes to protocols and procedures we are following when it comes to isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing. Health experts continue to evolve their approach to treat COVID-19 as an endemic (when a virus is more manageable with greater population immunity) more than a pandemic. 

    These changes are from the Oregon Department of Education, the Oregon Health Authority, and the Multnomah County Health Department. 

    Changes to Isolation Guidance

    Below are changes to the isolation requirements for those who test positive for COVID-19.

    • Students and staff can end isolation after 5 full days since symptoms of illness started and can return to school if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and their other symptoms have improved.
    • Students and staff should continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others at home and in public places for an additional 5 days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of their 5-day isolation.

    Changes to Quarantine Guidance

    Below are changes to the quarantine requirements for those who come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 in a school setting.

    • Students and staff who are identified as coming into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and ARE up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations as defined by CDC will not need to quarantine.
    • Students and staff who are identified as coming into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and are NOT up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations as defined by CDC should quarantine for 5 days or may qualify for Test to Stay.
    • Students and staff who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days do not need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact with someone with COVID-19.

    In addition, all staff and students who are identified as close contacts should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of their last close contact with someone with COVID-19 and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.  Health authorities recommend getting tested at least 5 days after having close contact with someone with COVID-19.  If they test positive or develop symptoms, they should follow recommendations for isolation.

    One important reminder: If you develop symptoms at any time, stay home. For more details, including requirements for anyone who tests positive, please see Multnomah County’s quarantine chart.

    These new guidelines have been implemented by Multnomah County and have been adopted by GBSD and the other six school districts in the Multnomah Education Service District.  

    Changes to Contact Tracing/Test to Stay/Test to Return

    Schools have been advised to change course on contact tracing. This means you may not get a notification if your child is exposed. As resources allow, schools will prioritize contact tracing only in the following circumstances:

    • Exposures during mealtimes (breakfast and lunch) when masks can’t be worn.
    • Any indoor learning or extracurricular activities that do not include masks, such as band, choir, athletics.

    Read the Multnomah County Health Department Letter on Changes to Contact Tracing 

    Test to Stay will continue to be available for identified exposures during the school day.  Given the changes to isolation and quarantine guidelines, Test to Return is no longer applicable. We previously announced we would begin twice-weekly communications listing which schools have had COVID-19 exposures.  Based on the changes above, these notifications are no longer applicable and will be discontinued.

    During this period of high transmission of the Omicron variant in our communities, we know the best protections under these circumstances are vaccines, boosters, and masks to avoid serious illness. Please continue to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and stay home if you have any of the symptoms. 

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and for doing your part to keep our community safe.

    Sincerely,

    Gresham-Barlow School District