August 2022 Update
Dear Ashland Families and Community:
In the last few months, we have seen an uptick in the Jackson County COVID rate. We are facing the reality that we will be living with COVID and its variants for the foreseeable future.
Vaccinations and layered protections have done much to reduce overall COVID risk. For more information on layered protections, read here.
The rapid spread of COVID can pose a risk to safe school operations if a large number of staff are absent due to illness. In November of 2020 and in January of 2021, one or more Ashland schools were closed for a period of time because of staff absences due to COVID or quarantine. Our goal is to keep folks healthy and keep kids in school.
Starting with the 22-23 school year, masking will be optional and encouraged for some or all individuals when Jackson County is at MEDIUM or HIGH risk. Individuals should consider their households needs when determining whether to wear a mask as one layer of protection.
Ashland Schools will continue to take common sense precautionary measures to prevent unnecessary spread of Covid-19. Specifically, we will:
Have students wash their hands frequently
Wipe down high touch surfaces regularly
Not allow sick students or staff to remain at school
Isolate students and staff that become ill at school
Follow Jackson County Health Department’s requirements and recommendations for isolation following a positive case of Covid-19
Encourage any staff or students with risk factors to wear a mask, particularly when our community risk is higher.
Continue to educate and promote an environment that is respectful of individual choice on masking.
The CDC has created community risk thresholds that that offer guidance on appropriate layers of protection based on individual health considerations. Moving into the 2022-23 school year, here are the guidelines we will be following:
When our community Covid numbers are at low risk on the CDC county dashboard, we will continue with business as usual at school, no masks required. As always, we ask that you keep your students home if they are sick with any kind of symptoms.
MASKING OPTIONAL AND ENCOURAGED FOR INDIVIDUALS AT-RISK
When we see our community numbers and hospitalizations rise, we would ask that our high-risk students and staff consider wearing a mask at school to protect themselves, and that every family consider having their student wear a mask to protect others, but it would still be optional.
MASKING OPTIONAL AND ENCOURAGED FOR ALL INDOORS
When our community Covid numbers and hospitalizations fall in the high-risk category, masks will be highly encouraged at school for all students and staff. Our highest priority is keeping kids at school with in-person instruction. If we have too many staff out due to illness, it can be difficult at best to keep schools open.
The CDC County based metrics are posted here and updated every Friday.
Is COVID Testing available?
We currently have a limited supply of test kits.
If you need test kits, please contact your school office or the District Nurse & every effort will be made to get a test kit to you.
If additional kits are made available to the public, we will email you that information as soon as it becomes available.
If your child has any of the symptoms below, please keep them home & notify the school office:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
What to do if you (staff) or your student is symptomatic?
Staff should stay home, even if vaccinated, Contact their supervisor and the District Nurse.
Symptomatic students will not be allowed to attend school.
Students should stay home, even if vaccinated. Parents should contact the school office. The Office Manager will ask you to get your child a Covid test. When you get the results, call the school office. The Office Manager will put you in contact with the District Nurse to determine when your child can return to school.
If your child tests positive for COVID notify the school immediately.
Be prepared to get a call from the district nurse if your child tests positive for COVID. The nurse will ask specific information such as symptom onset, last day your child attended school or school activities, where the test was done etc. to determine if the student was in school when they were potentially contagious. The nurse will also provide you with direct guidance regarding isolation per the K-12 school guidelines, with the specific length of isolation and return to school dates.
The guidelines come from the Oregon Health Authority and are administered through Jackson County Public Health. The guidelines were developed in an effort to have as many kids in school as safely as possible. We implement a number of mitigating strategies in an effort to reduce the spread in schools.
We notify families anytime there is a significant increase in positive cases at a school site. For up-to-date information on case counts by site, please refer to the district website, which is updated daily.
Best Practices for Families for Covid Safety:
Communicate with the school anytime your child is sick and keep them home.
Have a back- up plan for child care should your child need to stay home due to illness, testing positive or having to isolate.
Communicate with the school as soon as you have test results if your child is at home with symptoms.
Wear a mask, socially distance and wash your hands often when with others that live outside of your household.
In addition to the Covid specific policies above, the Ashland School District has general policies regarding communicable diseases, links below.
Communicable Disease Policy: Students
Communicable Disease Policy: Staff
Communicable Disease Policy: General