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Local school districts react to upcoming removal of mask requirement

Tiffany Eckert

Local school districts are starting to respond to the Oregon Health Authority’s announcement Monday that mask requirements in K-12 schools will be lifted by March 31st.

Several districts, including Eugene 4J, Siuslaw and Oakridge, have shared a similar letter. It reminds families current masking rules remain in place, and says over the next few weeks, districts will work with their school boards, public health officials, staff and families to decide next steps.

Bend-La-Pine Schools has signaled it will ease the mask rule. In a letter to families, the district sites an operational plan approved in August, stating that if the mask mandate ends at least 60 to 90 days after approval of a vaccine for 5- to 12- year-olds, quote, “it would be our recommendation for indoor masking to move to ‘strongly recommended’ rather than ‘required’ for all students and staff.”

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.