The Redmond School District will hold an emergency board meeting next week to talk about the consequences of ignoring Oregon’s new mask mandate for K-12 students and staff this fall.
According to the agenda for the Aug. 11th board meeting, Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill is expected to be on hand virtually to discuss the mandate handed down this week.
The Redmond School Board plans to bring in the district’s attorney and a senior vice president of the district’s insurance provider to talk about the legal and liability ramifications for “not following OHA rule regarding mask mandate.”
Additionally, a Redmond High School counselor plans to talk to the board about the student experience over the last year and a half and the Deschutes County’s public health director and a public health nurse will be there to present local COVID data and information.
A public comment period is also scheduled at 7:25 p.m.
Under the new rules, all K-12 students and staff must wear masks indoors beginning Aug. 2nd as COVID cases skyrocket around the state.
Immediately after the announcement, school leaders in Crook County, Jefferson County and Culver said they planned to push back and continue telling families maks were optional.
Redmond earlier this summer announced masks would not be required this fall, but that was before the new rules were handed down.
Since then, the district has said they were not making any immediate changes to their plans.
Masks are still optional for Redmond summer school programs, but the district highly recommends them.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, a school that violates the new mask mandate after August 12th is subject to a civil penalty of $500 per day, per violation.
But it’s unclear what “per violation” means.
A spokesman for the ODE told Central Oregon Daily News that compliance and enforcement was the responsibility of Oregon-OSHA.
Oregon-OSHA officials, however, said their jurisdiction is restricted to employees at the schools, not the students.
Aaron Corvin, a public information officer with Oregon-OSHA said his agency would soon revise its workplace COVID rules to include the new OHA mask mandate for schools.
But just like throughout the last year and a half, he said the goal would be education first – penalties second.
Complaints could lead to an on-site inspection and that could, in turn, lead to fines.
Attempts to get clarification from OHA have been unsuccessful.
Wednesday’s meeting will be held at the Redmond High School Auditorium and begins at 6 p.m.
You can see the full agenda below:8-11-2021-Special-Board-Meeting-Agenda