Dear Santiam Community,
As I am sure you are well aware, COVID numbers are on the rise and our community is no exception. We are doing what we can to keep our buildings safe and our schools open. Our goal is to keep open, as we know many of our students learn best at school. With that said, we are facing challenges doing so, and also need your help.
WHAT CAN FAMILIES DO TO HELP?
Knowing that COVID cases are rising, we need help from families to keep our schools as safe as possible. Recent COVID symptoms have ranged from severe symptoms, to mild cold-like symptoms to some positive cases that have no symptoms. If you are unsure, please keep your child home and consider having them tested. Also, if you have been exposed to positive cases, please take precaution and consider testing. I know keeping kids home isn’t easy for many families, but it could be the thing that keeps us from having to shut down.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE SCHOOLS?
Every day we are contact tracing and excluding close contacts, we are cleaning touch points and we are watching our COVID numbers closely as we work with Linn County OHA to keep our schools safe and open. Also, please be patient with the schools and staffing levels, as COVID and exclusions also affects our staff. Our schools are shifting staff around, combining staff duties or combining some classes. This seems like an inconvenience and a less than acceptable way to teach students, but it far beats the alternative of shutting down for a while. Our staff are doing an amazing job of shifting on the fly and making any situation work, for the betterment of students and keeping kids in school. Other schools and districts are having to temporarily shut down due to staffing issues… we are working hard to avoid this.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF CASES RISE?
There is always a risk that a cohort, building or district must shut down for in-person learning. Linn County OHA could mandate this or we could hit a staffing shortage level that requires it. Again, we are doing everything we can to prevent a shutdown from happening.
HOW CAN I GET A FREE VACCINATION OR BOOSTER?
I am not here to endorse vaccinations or not, that is an individual or family decision. I do want to pass along local information for those who do want to get the vaccination or booster. If you are interested, Santiam Hospital offers a free COVID clinic and you can sign up HERE.
UPDATED QUARANTINE TIMES ARE HERE
The CDC Guidance is now officially approved from OHA/ODE to reduce the number of days students/staff have to quarantine or isolate. The new rules are:
Quarantine (Exposed to COVID): Students, teachers, and staff who are not up to date on their vaccination status and have been in contact with someone with confirmed COVID.
- Quarantine for at least 5 days after their last close contact with someone with COVID-19. Individuals in quarantine should not go to school or school events in-person during their quarantine period unless they qualify to participate in a school sponsored test-to-stay protocol.
- Must test back in at least 5 days after having close contact with someone with COVID-19. If families opt to not test, the quarantine time is still 10 days. If they test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, they should follow recommendations for isolation.
Isolation (COVID Positive): Students, teachers, and staff who have presumed or confirmed COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate regardless of vaccination status.
- Individuals can end isolation after 5 full days since symptom onset if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their other symptoms have improved.
- Day 0 is the day symptoms began or the day the person took a test that had a positive result. Day 1 is the day after symptoms began or, if a person does not have symptoms, the day after the person tested positive (use the date the test was collected).
- If they continue to have fever or their other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, they should stay in isolation until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their other symptoms have improved.
Thank you for all your flexibility and support these last few years. None of us enjoy the situation we are in, but I am proud of how the Santiam Canyon has worked together to keep our schools safe, while also continuing to provide a great educational environment for our kids.
Todd Miller, Superintendent