With the number of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Oregon increasing, Governor Brown announced new guidance today regarding group gatherings and social distancing. We remain committed to keeping our schools open and safe. In accordance with this guidance and in order to minimize potential opportunities for the virus to spread, we have decided to proactively begin suspending events that bring large groups of students, adults, and community members together.
The Oregon Health Authority is recommending that schools should cancel or limit all non-essential school-based activities and after-school activities beginning Thursday, March 12th until further notice. This includes the suspension of all assemblies and events, group parent meetings, off-campus field trips, and professional development meetings and events. With regard to athletics, we are following new state guidance denying audience admission at all school-based events, with the exception of essential personnel and credentialed media. Athletic practices will take place until we receive further guidance. The list of affected activities will grow as we work with partners and stakeholders over the coming days. We will update you as we make those decisions.
We realize that this decision will impact every school community, and we know that many of the events, student performances and other gatherings that we are suspending are those that schools, students and families look forward to all year long. Suspending these events is consistent with guidance from health authorities, and we believe it is a prudent and responsible step to take at this time. We will be working with trip planners, event organizers and others who are responsible for the affected activities.
The safety, health, and well-being of our students and staff is our highest priority. We will continue to work in close partnership with public health authorities to minimize both the spread of coronavirus and disruption to schools and students. We will continue emphasizing the importance of handwashing at school. Our campus stewards will continue to prioritize high-touch surfaces and we are making sure schools have adequate cleaning supplies.
Students, families and everyone in our community can best support our efforts by washing hands frequently, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing, avoiding those who are sick. Those experiencing symptoms of the cold or flu should stay at home, only returning to school or work when symptom-free for 72 hours. If you are concerned about symptoms, please consult with a doctor.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this difficult time. We will continue to rely on the guidance from Benton and Linn County Health Departments, the Oregon Health Authority, the Department of Education, and the Office of the Governor. We appreciate their partnership at this time.
Our custodial staff has focused on extra disinfecting of touch points (door knobs, handles, desks, etc.) daily in all of our buildings. We want to remind all of our community members of the following steps we can all take to keep our schools safe and healthy:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Sing Happy Birthday twice or search other songs that are 20 seconds in length.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you are sick.
Monroe School District