Dear Umatilla Families,
As you know, the requirements for schools continue to shift and change. The Oregon Department of Education has updated the "Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resilience Framework for the 2021-22 School Year." The update does require adherence to OAR 333-019-1015. This rule requires face coverings in all K-12 indoor school settings (public, private, parochial, and charter).
While this is a shift from the plan we had released last week, we continue to advocate for a return to local decision making. I am meeting with Governor Brown with a small group of superintendents next week and I will advocate for local control. I have been fortunate to serve on numerous committees at the state and national level throughout the pandemic. While I have not always agreed with all decisions that have been made, I am always proud to represent Umatilla and Umatilla's needs. I appreciate the feedback you provide as your input is helpful when I am in meetings. Please remember you may always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you may provide public comment to our School Board via this link. It is important to note that adherence to state laws and mandates are not optional for school districts and the district faces liability, fines and educator sanctions for failing to follow mandates. We can, and will continue to, advocate; however, we cannot ignore a mandate. Your voice matters in Salem as well. You can share your thoughts with Governor Brown here. Remember, when advocating: avoid name calling, share your personal perspective, be concise, be clear in your request and provide your contact information.
Our admin team met this week and we are dedicated to ensuring a successful start to the year for students. We celebrate the opportunity to serve students at school once again. The mask requirement will be reviewed monthly by the Oregon Health Authority and we will be ready for changes as they come. We are developing a metric for parents that we will use when local control is re-established so we can keep the lines of communication open and you can make informed decisions for your students.
As always, this is an ever-changing situation and we will continue to adapt as necessary. No matter the change, we are commited to working with our students, parents and staff to ensure a positive experience for students.
Thank you for your continued dedication to Umatilla students. We remain #UmatillaStrong because of the shared commitment to students and I appreciate the supportive environment for our students that our community works together to provide.
Heidi Sipe, EdS