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Alsea School District resumes classes with mask-optional policy

Rachael McDonald
The Alsea School District is no longer requiring its staff and students to wear masks indoors.

Students are back in class in Alsea after the district was closed for a week due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The weeklong shutdown came just as the district implemented its new mask-optional policy. As the policy took effect, Alsea superintendent Marc Thielman announced the closure due to a surge in cases that left the district without enough staff to operate.

The new policy goes against statewide requirements from Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Department of Education. That agency has already announced that the district will forfeit some federal emergency funds as a result.

Meanwhile, the union representing Alsea teachers wrote a letter to the school board calling the change in mask policy a, quote, “affront to our professionalism.” The union said the policy disregards the health and safety of the entire community.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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