East County schools adopt new masking guidelines
Gresham-Barlow, Centennial and Reynolds school districts are following state and Multnomah County public health guidelines requiring its indoor athletes be masked during games and practice.
In guidelines issued Sept. 7, Multnomah County's Health Department urged school districts to require masks for students participating in indoor athletics.
Many of the recommendations go further than the guidance from the Oregon Department Education and the Oregon Health Authority.
The county recommends that if indoor sporting events can't be moved outside they should be postponed for six weeks. If districts still decide to continue having indoor athletics, which many East County districts have, then the county recommends athletes be masked during games and practice.
"I know kids are back in school, but it is not like school before," said Jessica Guernsey, Multnomah County Health Department's public health director.
Guernsey said that the guidelines provided by the department of education and the health authority in the "Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework" were created before the Delta variant of COVID-19 and didn't account for how transmissible the new strain is.
On top of trying to understand current trends, Guernsey said that her department has been looking at last year's data to cover other potential hot-spots. "Based on previous transmission from the spring, we saw that spread is coming from activities like indoor sports," she said. "We saw very little transmission from classroom time."
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