West Linn-Wilsonville School District alters extracurricular safety protocols
On Thursday, Jan. 6, the West Linn-Wilsonville School District announced that, following a "record number of positive cases" of COVID-19 on school grounds, additional safety measures for after-school programs are now in place.
The updates follow an advisory released Monday, Jan. 3 by the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority. The advisory urged school districts to temporarily halt extracurricular cases as omicron variant cases continued to rise across the state.
Although the WL-WV school district will not cancel or postpone co-curricular events at this time, it has implemented measures to reduce the risk of further spread. As of Thursday afternoon, the district could not confirm the number of new cases that prompted these changes.
Concessions are suspended, for the time being, and spectators cannot consume food and drinks during events.
The district also tweaked protocols for field trips. Going forward, a "limited number" of field trips will be held during school hours. These trips must be outdoors. All overnight field trips planned for January will be canceled, rescheduled or temporarily suspended.
Starting Monday, Jan. 10, additional safety protocols will limit how many spectators each student-athlete can invite to their event.
At sporting events hosted in the school district's campuses, student-athletes will be permitted six attendees. Away games are dependent on the hosting team's safety regulations.
"Limited numbers of students participating in band and cheerleading will be permitted at home games to ensure social distancing," the letter said.
Only two tickets will be granted to every student participating in a performing arts production in the auditorium. Students performing in a gymnasium will be allowed four tickets.
Community gatherings like parent-teacher association meetings will now be virtual. After-school clubs and robotic team meetings will continue as normal.
Face coverings for all spectators continue to be enforced at all games, meets and performances held on West Linn and Wilsonville school grounds.
"Our priority is to keep our students healthy and in school, every day, which means adjusting other events and activities to support this priority," the statement to the community said.
Communications Director Andrew Kilstrom said the positive COVID cases identified were students and staff who had already arrived at school sick, and not a spread during the school day.
"We are still confident that our layers of mitigation are effective in stopping spread during the school day," Kilstrom said.
The district's policy changes resemble those of neighboring districts. Lake Oswego also limited spectators at athletics competitions on Tuesday, Jan. 4. The Portland Public School District reverted its safety measures to those practiced in early 2021, such as that athletes must wear a face-covering during games and spectators must show proof of vaccination.
"Our school nurses and health assistants have been working long hours since school began in September, assisting with Covid cases that arise at school, making contact tracing phone calls to families, and now providing testing to students and staff," the WL-WV district said in a letter to the community.
The district will meet at the end of the month to determine if these guidelines will continue in February.
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