Mask talking points for Oregon school board members
The delta variant has caused infection rates to surge dramatically in recent weeks, including among our youngest populations. Even those who are vaccinated can transmit the disease to others.
Children are often more severely affected by the new variant than they were by COVID-19 a year ago.
Our schools were closed statewide last fall. Observing the mask order provides the best opportunity to limit infection rates and keep our schools open. Defying the order could provoke school closures.
Not following the order could result in financial penalties for our schools. In addition, our schools would potentially lose the civil lawsuit protections contained in House Bill 4402 and face other potential liability repercussions.
Regardless of our own opinions about the mask order, Oregon’s highest court has held that Gov. Brown has the authority to declare an emergency and take steps to protect public health.
Our local school leaders as well as statewide organizations such as the Oregon School Boards Association are advocating with state officials about the importance of local control and differences in COVID-19 case rates by location.