March 12, 2020
School events, gatherings, field trips suspended
With the number of confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Oregon increasing, Governor Kate Brown announced new guidance regarding group gatherings and social distancing. We remain committed to keeping our schools open and safe. In accordance with this guidance and in order to minimize potential opportunities for the virus to spread, we will begin suspending events that bring large groups of students, adults, and community members together. This action is not related to an identified COVID-19 case. At this time, there are no cases identified in South Lane School District or in Lane County.
Suspension of non-essential school-based activities begins immediately, effective Thursday, March 12, and will remain in effect for 30 days. This includes the suspension of all school-based assemblies and events, off-campus field trips, and out-of-state travel. With regard to state championships and other athletic contests, we currently expect that some events may continue with changes. For example, today’s Cottage Grove High School’s girls basketball championship, which will proceed but without spectators. The list of affected activities will grow as we work with partners and stakeholders over the coming days. We will provide updates as these decisions are made.
To be clear, we are taking every step possible so that we can continue to provide high-quality education for all of our students and keep our schools open.
We realize that this decision will impact every school community, and we know that many of the events, student performances and other gatherings that we are suspending are ones that schools, students and families look forward to all year long. Suspending these events is consistent with guidance from health authorities, and we believe it is a prudent and responsible step to take at this time. We will be working with trip planners, event organizers and others who are responsible for the affected activities. In cases where we are mandated to offer access to community members (e.g. school board meetings) and are exploring alternatives to continue the district’s governance and business.
The safety, health and well-being of our students and staff is our priority. We will continue to work in close partnership with public health authorities to minimize both the spread of coronavirus and disruption to schools and students. We will continue emphasizing the importance of handwashing at school. Our custodians will continue to prioritize high-touch surfaces in classrooms and common areas, and make sure schools have adequate handwashing and cleaning supplies.
Students, families and everyone in our community can best support our efforts by washing hands frequently, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing, and using hand sanitizer. Those experiencing fever and/or flu or cold symptoms should stay at home, only returning to school or work when symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of medicine. If you are concerned about symptoms, please consult your healthcare provider.
Finally, you can find information about coronavirus COVID-19, resources and links to public health agencies by visiting http://bit.ly/SLSD-CV.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this challenging time. We will continue to rely on the guidance of Oregon public health authorities, the Department of Education, and the Office of the Governor. Please know that this message and the decisions being made at this time are being done in collaboration with many of the State of Oregon’s largest school districts, including Portland Public Schools, Beaverton School District, Hillsboro School District, Salem-Keizer Public Schools and Eugene 4J. We appreciate their partnership at this time. Please know we all collectively share the utmost concern for the health and safety of our students, employees, and communities.
The Governor's March 12th, 2020 video update can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PruG7QBbSUs#action=share