Estacada School District leaders say they were surprised by new guidance about face masks from Gov. Kate Brown

COURTESY PHOTO: ESTACADA SCHOOL DISTRICT - Per a mandate from Gov. Kate Brown, face masks will be required inside school buildings during the upcoming academic year.

Following an announcement from Gov. Kate Brown that masks will be required for anyone inside school buildings during the upcoming academic year, the Estacada School District has updated its COVID-19 safety plans.

Prior to Brown's announcement on Thursday, July 29, Estacada's return to school plan recommended, but did not require, face coverings.

Then, in a Facebook post on Monday, Aug. 2, Carpenter said district leaders were "surprised" to learn about the latest mask mandate "after (Gov. Brown) announced in late June that all future decisions about COVID-19 protocols would be decided at local levels."

"In the past few days parents, teachers, support staff, and community members have emailed me sharing their frustration in this decision and many have asked me to not follow/nor observe the Governor's orders. As your superintendent, I took an oath to enforce all policies of the Estacada School District which includes following federal and state law. I, nor the Board of Directors, will knowingly and/or willingly violate state orders," Carpenter wrote.

He noted that the situation provided an opportunity to model behavior for students.

"The lesson is: Even if we receive an outcome that we do not desire, it does not give us reason to break rules, violate policy, compromise our values, or diminish the quality of service we are working so hard to develop," he wrote. "That being said, both the School Board of Directors and I will continue to advocate, lobby, and stand up for Estacada's values to retain local control and decision-making that is in the best interest of our community and the Estacada School District."

Prior to Gov. Brown's announcement, Estacada schools had released safety protocols for the 2021-22 school year on Tuesday, July 20.

"In the meantime, your school district will remain first-class, intensely focused on learning, and prepared for more changes at the state level as they occur, with the intent to limit disruptions to your child's learning," Carpenter added.

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