Frequently Asked Questions
(As of August 23, 2021)
Will students and staff be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend in-person learning?
On August 19 Governor Kate Brown announced that she would be directing the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to issue a rule requiring all public and private school staff members and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by October 18, or six weeks from FDA approval, whichever is later. As with state employees and healthcare workers - religious and medical/disability-related exceptions apply. GBSD will provide specifics on this requirement once the information is available.
Students are not required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Students' enrollment won't be impacted by whether or not they receive the vaccine, and they won't be required to show proof of vaccination. In specific circumstances, such as determining whether or not an individual needs to quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure, vaccine proof may be requested by the local public health department. Students, teachers, and staff would then have a choice to provide proof of vaccination or quarantine if the document is not provided.
The GBSD follows guidance from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in regards to which vaccinations are required for students to attend our schools and what exemptions are acceptable. At this time, ODE and OHA have not required the COVID-19 vaccine for students, ages 12-17. If that changes in the coming weeks or months, we will follow state guidance.
On your student's online verification form (under Immunization Registration), you can now enter whether your vaccine-eligible child has received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. While the vaccine isn't required, this information is useful to our school nurses and local health professionals in cases where quarantines are being considered. You'll be asked to provide proof of your COVID-19 vaccine if you choose to include the date in the Immunization Registration section. You can either upload your record in ParentVUE while completing your online verification, or you can take it to your school office.
If you'd like information about where to find a vaccine, visit the state's Find a COVID Vaccine in Oregon website. You also can dial 211 on your phone for more information. The GBSD strongly encourages all eligible individuals to receive the vaccine.
Will schools administer COVID-19 tests?
Optional self-administered COVID-19 testing may be offered to students if they develop new symptoms of COVID-19 while at school.
COVID-19 testing for students is optional, and parents/guardians may refuse consent. Parents/guardians will be asked to provide consent for COVID-19 testing during our back-to-school online verification process.
Online Learning Option
Are there options for online learning if I do not want to send my student to school?
Families interested in exploring their online options should contact their school principal. If families know they would like to enroll their student in a full-time, online-only option, they should apply to the GBSD-sponsored online charter school-Metro East Web Academy (MEWA). For other specific questions related to your student’s educational needs/options, please contact your school for additional information.
Will masks be required at school?
Yes, Governor Kate Brown has instructed all Oregon school districts to require masks indoors in all K-12 schools for staff, students, and visitors, regardless of whether or not they’re vaccinated; the mask mandate includes five (5) years and older. The governor is aligning all Oregon schools with the most recent guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Both recommend mandatory indoor masking in schools because of the recent spread of the delta variant of COVID-19.
Here are some factors that the Governor considered in her decision:
- The vaccine is not yet approved for children ages 11 and under, meaning we have students in our elementary and middle schools who aren't protected by the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The CDC has indicated that unlike the alpha variant in May, the highly transmissive delta variant can be spread by vaccinated individuals as well as unvaccinated individuals. Masking combined with social distancing makes spread less likely.
Similar to last year, students with documented medical issues that prevent mask-wearing may be exempt. Talk to your school principal for more information.
Will masks be required on school buses?
A Federal mandate requires passengers and drivers to wear a mask on school buses. Drivers don't need to wear masks if they're the only person on the bus.
What should I do if I don't want my student to wear a mask?
Students should apply to our District sponsored online charter school--Metro East Web Academy (MEWA). MEWA is a comprehensive, full-time, online program. Students are discouraged from switching back and forth except at natural grading periods.
Will students be able to remove masks while eating or drinking?
Yes, students will be able to remove masks while actively eating and drinking.
Will students be able to remove masks during PE/Recess?
Students participating in certain sports during P.E. where masks may present a strangulation hazard may remove their masks. Otherwise, masks should remain on.
Students participating in outdoor P.E. classes will be required to wear masks, unless teacher gives permission and distancing is able to be maintained.
Students at recess will be required to wear masks.
Will students need to wear masks for after-school athletics?
Both indoors & outdoors, student-athletes are not required to wear a face-covering while participating in physical activity (practice or competition) on the court but they are highly encouraged to do so. Athletes are required to wear a face-covering when not engaged in physical activity, including waiting on the sidelines or sitting on the bench. When athletes are at least 3 feet apart and everyone is wearing a face covering, athletes who are in close contact with someone with a positive or presumptive case of COVID-19 don’t need to quarantine unless they have symptoms.
Spectators, coaches, and officials (who are not exerting a high level of physical exertion) are required to wear face coverings at all times when in both school indoor & outdoor settings. All are required to maintain at least 3 feet of distance between families/groups to the extent possible.
Will students be required to socially distance themselves?
In accordance with the guidance from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), to the extent possible, classrooms and other school areas will be set up to maintain 3 feet of social distancing. When it's not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, it is especially important to layer multiple prevention strategies, such as mask-wearing and frequent handwashing.
Will students have to quarantine if a positive or presumptive case of COVID-19 is reported?
If your student is diagnosed with a positive or presumptive case of COVID-19, the student will have to quarantine at home for 10 days.
If a school can confirm that:
-6 feet of distancing was consistently maintained
-3 feet of distancing with consistent mask use was maintained during the school day, then each person that the confirmed case was in contact with (for a cumulative period of no more than 15 minutes) will not need to quarantine. In addition, if the exposed student is vaccinated AND asymptomatic, the exposed student would not have to quarantine.
The determination of people that need to be quarantined is made in cooperation with on-site Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) school nurses, school personnel, and the communicable disease team at the MESD.
Will schools allow volunteers?
At this time, GBSD is not allowing volunteers inside of the school during the school day.
Volunteers that work outside (coaches, etc.) are permitted but must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccine status. Without proof, they cannot volunteer.
If you have a question you do not see on the list, please submit your question to our online listening system, “Let’s Talk” for a prompt response.