Gov. Kate Brown just announced that she has issued new rules pertaining to the rise of COVID-19 in the state, including a statewide indoor mask requirement. The requirement would go into effect Friday, Aug. 13.
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) already requires staff and students to wear masks in all indoor K-12 school settings; the new mask mandate requires those in early childhood education facilities, community colleges and other educational institutions to do so as well.
Gov. Brown also announced that starting Oct. 18, state employees in the executive branch will be required to show proof of full vaccination status, with exceptions for religious or medical reasons. We have received questions about whether districts will enact similar requirements for school workers. In the press conference today, Gov. Brown encouraged public and private employers to follow suit, but at this time, the governor's office has not mandated vaccinations in schools. As with any changes to our working conditions, the impacts of any vaccination mandate would be subject to bargaining in our chapters. OSEA will continue to share updated information as soon as it is available.
OSEA members have diverse perspectives on masks, vaccines and other issues. As always, our union will advocate for workers to have the protections they need, a voice in the decision-making process in our workplaces and the safe reopening of Oregon schools. If you have questions or concerns about what is happening in your district, contact your chapter officers or OSEA field representative.