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March 2022 Education Update

Oregon Achieves... Together!

A Message from the Director of the Oregon Department of Education, Colt Gill

ODE Director Colt Gill 

Last summer, ODE launched the Care and Connection Campaign to provide resources to districts to promote the mental health and well-being of students and staff for the current school year. As you prepare for the start of next year, you will be happy to know we are working to add new inspiration and resources to support Care and Connection throughout the coming school year!

More than half of the school districts in the state participated in the Care and Connection Campaign, or implemented other tools to ensure their school buildings were safe, welcoming environments. We’d love to build on that for next year so that every student in the state starts the school year off with a healthy foundation to build upon. We also hope you’ll continue your care and connection activities throughout the school year!

Of course, there is still much work to do for the current school year, especially since districts are transitioning or considering face covering optional environments starting next week. Much like the return to in-person learning, switching away from face covering mandates can also be a time of excitement or uncertainty. With our partners at the Oregon Health Authority, we have created a toolkit centering safety, health and belonging as schools transition to face covering optional policies.

The goal is to create safe, supportive, welcoming schools and prevent bullying linked to student and family choice to wear or not wear a face covering at school. This is especially important for students who most frequently experience bullying including students who experience disability and those who are Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x/e, People of Color, Tribal members, and/or are members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community.

We have more information and resources in the message that went out earlier today.

Resiliency Framework Revisions Effective March 12

Here is the message we sent March 2nd describing the changes to the face coverings, quarantine and testing guidance:

Dear Colleagues,

As you thoughtfully prepare and plan health and safety mitigation for March 12 and beyond, we want to share a few practical updates to the Ready Schools, Safe Learner Resiliency Framework and share the latest School Health Advisory.

The Resiliency Framework effective March 12 includes safety protocols for quarantine, contact tracing and testing that meet the current conditions of the pandemic. 

The March/April School Health Advisory reinforces the updates to the Resiliency Framework and reiterates how we support every student and family through this transition to ensure that students and staff stay safe during in-person learning.

Resiliency Framework Effective March 12

Monday, Governor Brown announced Oregon would lift mask requirements for indoor public spaces and schools on March 11 at 11:59 PM. This decision is based on current COVID-19 case forecasting from OHSU, which projects hospitalization falling below 400 or fewer Oregonians per day by March 12. This will return Oregon to a level of hospitalization experienced prior to the Omicron variant. Additionally, because of high vaccination rates and previous infection due to Omicron, Oregon now has significant population immunity. OHA estimates that upwards of 82% of individuals are currently immune. The duration of this immunity is unknown, but is believed to provide protection from reinfection for at least 90 days. This is good news for Oregon. And, the shift in decision making for masking to local levels will bring additional questions about school operations this spring.

With several changes in health and safety guidance occurring in conjunction with the lifting of the masking requirement on March 11, ODE has updated the RSSL Resiliency Framework to reflect recommendations beginning on March 12. This version of the framework is effective March 12 and beyond. Education partners should continue to reference the February 9, 2022 version of the Framework until March 12.

The revisions effective on March 12 include:

  • Information on CDC COVID-19 Community Levels (page 4) as a tool for informing local decisions on masking and other COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
  • Revision to 2021-2022 Existing Rules section (page 7) lifting Face Coverings (OAR 333-019-1025 and OAR 333-019-1015) general mask requirements for indoor public places and for schools.
  • Revision to Advisory Health and Safety Strategies (page 14-15)
    • Face Coverings literature resources and guidance.
    • Physical Distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • Revision to OHA Sponsored COVID-19 Testing in Schools (page 16)
    • Diagnostic Testing for K-12 students and staff offering a test to stay enhanced exposure testing protocol.
    • Screening Testing for Unvaccinated K-12 Students/Staff removing reporting for case investigation or contact tracing.
  • Public Health Communication and Training for School Staff (page 21) highlighting the need to retrain staff to ensure that health and safety protocols are reviewed and strengthened.
  • Revisions to Isolation Protocols Required by OAR 581-022-2220 (page 22-23)
    • Contact tracing and quarantine paused for the general population including the K-12 setting.
    • Isolation guidance encouraging schools to provide cohort notification when exposures occur.
    • Centralized support for schools and families through the Positive COVID Test website and COVID-19 Case Support Hotline.

This New Stage

As we move into this new stage, sharing updates this week, we also must take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate all of our educators - without which this year of in-person learning could not have happened. These past two years have been incredibly challenging but also meaningful and impactful to so many. As we move into this new stage of the pandemic, we will look back at this time in our history and see our educators as the heroes that have been and continue to be there for our children and families.

We understand on a deeper level those students, and families that make up our school communities and we remain hopeful that the most recent COVID-19 data signals brighter days ahead. With the lifting of the statewide mask requirements allowing schools to set their own mask requirements, we also know that many students and staff will choose to continue to wear face coverings at school. Every individual has the right to make that decision and schools should support the continued use of face coverings by individuals. In fact, health experts recommend continued face coverings for students and staff that are at higher risk because they are not vaccinated; immunocompromised; have underlying health conditions; are 65 and older; or who live with someone in one of these categories.

Even while the pandemic enters a new phase, face covering requirements are lifted and a level of population immunity is realized, we continue our work to ensure that students and staff stay safe at school. Vaccination continues to be recommended as a primary protective measure from COVID-19 variants protecting our children and their ability to continue learning in-person, all year long. Thank you for your partnership and thoughtful planning for the weeks ahead, and thank you for all of your dedication to better the lives of our young Oregonians.

If you have any questions about this update, please contact the ODE COVID-19 inbox at Thank you!

Teaching About the War in Ukraine

The news of the day continues to focus on the war in Ukraine. Many Oregon students have connections to Ukraine, Russia and the surrounding nation-states. As teachers discuss current events in the classroom, it is important to consider the stress students may already be experiencing.

ODE Social Science Specialist Amit Kobrowski compiled a number of resources to help teach about the current situation within Oregon’s social science standards. There are additional materials on Oregon Open Learning. Oregon Open Learning lessons and resources are always free with registration. Several news sites also offer suggestions for teaching about current conflicts with trauma-informed considerations and how to help students identify dubious social media postings and misinformation on the conflict.

Student Spotlight

Face Covering and Quarantine Guidance Changes for Early Learning

On February 28, Governor Kate Brown announced Oregon will lift mask requirements for indoor public spaces and schools, including child care, on March 11, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. This decision is based on current COVID-19 case forecasting, which projects hospitalizations falling below 400 or fewer Oregonians per day by March 12. This will return Oregon to a level of hospitalization experienced prior to the Omicron variant. Additionally, because of high vaccination rates and previous infection due to Omicron, Oregon now has significant population immunity.

Beginning March 12, 2022, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will pause the quarantine requirement for individuals exposed to COVID-19 in child care and K-12 settings. Staff and children who are ill with COVID-like symptoms or test positive must be excluded from child care and isolate at home for 5 days. They may then return when symptoms are improving and they have been fever-free for 24 hours. When returning to care, staff and children 2 years and older should wear a well-fitting mask in child care and public settings for an additional 5 days after their isolation is completed.

The OHA and Early Learning Division (ELD) recommend that early education and child care programs notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms or test, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they are symptomatic or test positive. Early education and child care programs may choose to impose stricter isolation, quarantine or masking requirements.

ELD has a list of responses to Frequently Asked Questions.

More information can be found on the ELD website.

March is Women’s History Month

Every year, March is designated Women’s History Month by presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions to American history. Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.

In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians—led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women's History Alliance)—successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. Since 1995, each president has issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

Governor Kate Brown signed a proclamation and also sent a message on Women’s History Month out on social media.

The 2022 Women’s History theme, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” is both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.

In addition to the featured resources and opportunities, explore online exhibits, resources, biographies. Watch a morning news feature on the Smithsonian's recent project celebrating the women of science with incredible use of 3-D printing. Take a look at A Mighty Girl's booklists for confident and courageous girls. Organizations like Girl Up encourage leadership development and The National Archive for Black Women's History is a clearinghouse of information on African American women's history resources.

Student Education Equity Development Survey Amplifies Student Voices!

The Student Education Equity Development Survey (SEED Survey) and Alt-SEED Survey are now available! Please administer the survey in your schools to gain valuable information from students’ voices. These surveys, for students who participate in our general assessments in grades 3-11 and for students with significant cognitive disabilities who take our alternate assessments in grades 3-8 and 11, provide an opportunity for districts to gather student voice in areas such as sense of belonging, opportunity to learn, access to resources and self-efficacy beliefs. The SEED and Alt-SEED Surveys are the product of a collaboration between Oregon Department of Education, University of Oregon partners, Oregon educators, students and community partners.

The SEED survey is short (approx. 10 minutes) and actionable, allowing schools to use the data they receive to support their decision making process. It is also administered through the OSAS Test Delivery System, allowing students access to the same supports they would use on statewide summative assessments. The SEED Survey is available in English, Spanish and Russian for in-person administration. It will be available for proctored or non-proctored remote administration beginning April 19, with the administration window for the SEED Survey closing on June 3, 2022.

The Alt-SEED survey takes approximately the same time as the SEED Survey and is completed by the educator who knows the student best, through the Training and Proficiency website that the Oregon Extended Assessment is administered in.

Aurora Institute referenced the SEED Survey in an article ‘Centering Student Voice in Statewide Assessment of Student Success Factors: Oregon’s SEED Survey’ by Eliot Levine:

“By embarking on this ambitious effort to create statewide assessments of key educational constructs that are too often ignored, the Oregon Department of Education is amplifying students’ voices and increasing the capacity of schools, districts, families, and policymakers to improve student outcomes and educational equity. By inviting others to adopt or adapt the surveys for local purposes, they are leveraging their work to have an impact beyond Oregon.”

Let’s do our part to listen to our students by administering the SEED Survey by June 3, 2022. More information about the SEED Survey and Alt SEED Survey, including administration, can be found on the ODE SEED Survey web page.

Please contact the SEED Survey Team with any questions.

ODE In the News