Updated August 31, 2021
Many students and their families are excited and also nervous about the return to full-time, in-person schooling. Here are some ways families, schools, and public health can work together to help students stay healthy and in school this year.
What families can do
Do everything you can to start the school year healthy. Take COVID-19 precautions.
- Get vaccinated: anyone 12 and older can get a safe, free COVID-19 vaccine
- Wear a mask indoors in public, outdoors in public when in a crowd, and when around people who may not be vaccinated
- Get together outdoors when around family and friends you don’t live with
If someone gets sick
- If your student or anyone in your household is sick, they need to stay home
- If the sick person has a cough, fever, shortness of breath, or new loss of taste or smell, they and everyone in the household should get tested for COVID-19
- Call your doctor or clinic for medical advice
- If anyone has severe symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room: difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or belly, unable to drink or keep liquids down, new confusion or inability to wake up, or bluish lips or face
Contact your school
- If your student is sick
- If your student tested positive for COVID-19
- If your student has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Close contact means spending 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of someone with or without a mask in any single day
- In K–12 indoor classrooms, it is not close contact if students are sitting 3 feet apart and wearing masks correctly the entire time
- If you have questions about COVID-19 safety practices at the school
- If you need help finding health care, mental health support, or community resources
Build healthy habits
- Wash hands often, for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your face or mask
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm or a tissue
- Wipe down surfaces
- Seek health care when you need it, get routine checkups and vaccinations
- Get mental health support
- Take care of yourself every day: sleep, drink water, eat nutritious food, move your body, and laugh with family and friends
What schools will do
- Implement safety practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools
- Contact you if your student has been in close contact while at school with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Work together with Multnomah County Health Department’s Communicable Disease Services program to identify people who might have been exposed and reduce the risk of spread
- Centennial SD
- Corbett School District
- David Douglas School District
- Gresham-Barlow School District
- Parkrose School District
- Portland Public Schools
- Reynolds School District
- Riverdale School District
What Multnomah County will do
When a case is identified in a school, that school and Multnomah County’s Communicable Disease Services team work together to identify people who might have been exposed and reduce the risk of spread.
Multnomah County Public Health is recommending teachers and administrators use a cohort log and a seating chart to help Public Health identify close contacts when a student tests positive for COVID-19.
- A cohort is a group of students and staff who stay together, such as a classroom.
- The seating chart will help Public Health identify close contacts in the event that a student tests positive, to minimize the disruption of having to quarantine an entire class or activity group.
Public Health urges schools to use multiple strategies, such as mask-wearing and vaccination, to reduce the risk of spread at school.
Multnomah County can help your family
- Find a vaccine clinic near you -- vaccines are safe and free
- Find a site to get a free COVID-19 test
- Learn more about what to do if your student or someone in your family has been a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Call or visit one of our Student Health Centers
- Student Health Centers offer primary and mental health care, including COVID-19 vaccines and childhood immunizations, to all Multnomah County youth ages 5 to 18. There are no out-of-pocket costs.
- Get help finding health care, mental health support, or community resources
- Multnomah County COVID-19 Call Center: 503.988.8939
- Oregon School Nurses Association COVID-19 Toolkit
- Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework for the 2021-22 School Year from the Oregon Department of Education
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance for school settings
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Harvard Medical School’s COVID-19 School and Community Resource Library
- Duke University’s ABC Science Collaborative