Tigard and Tualatin schools are taking steps to control the spread of COVID-19.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Tigard-Tualatin School District has implemented revised protocol for dealing with the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases related to the Omicron variant. Student athletes will be required to mask during practices, spectators older than age 5 must show they've been vaccinated or have recently tested negative for COVID-19, and all field trips have been postponed.

Those are some of the highlights of new restrictions put into place by the Tigard-Tualatin School District Friday, Jan. 7, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases propelled by the omicron variant.

Both the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority warned last Monday, Jan. 3, that school districts should temporarily halt school sports or close-contact extracurricular activities, or take steps to reduce transmission. Otherwise, they warned, in-person classes could be put on pause.

The new Tigard-Tualatin School District protocols are effective as of Monday, Jan. 10.

What are masking requirements for athletics and other activities?

Students must mask during practices but can remove masks during active play or performances. That includes choir and theater performers.

The district is also reinstating requirements to wear masks when at recess or participating in outdoor classes. However, students won't have to wear those if they are actively involved in physical activity.

At this time, all scheduled events will continue, but no new events will be added to school calendars.

What about indoor spectators?

Anyone age 5 or older must show proof they are vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours.

Concession stands will be closed for now. No food or drinks (except for participants) will be allowed at school venues.

The district is working on increasing social distancing in student sections as well.

What about assemblies and after-school activities?

All assemblies, after-school social events (including dances) have been suspended.

While after-school clubs and other extracurricular activities will continue, everyone participating must wear a mask.

Meanwhile, the Tigard-Tualatin School District suspended in-person classes at Durham Elementary School this week due to a spread of the virus. Durham Elementary will be in distance learning — a return to the model used for most of the 2020-21 school year — at least through Friday, Dec. 14.

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