News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters students will have to mask this fall

Sisters students will have to mask up when they return to class at the end of the summer, under a new directive from Governor Kate Brown.

Last Thursday, July 29, Governor Brown directed the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education to create a rule to require masks indoors for K-12 schools statewide for the 2021-22 school year. The move is, according to the governor’s office, “in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently updated guidance, and based on the latest science on the spread of the Delta variant.”

“The science and data are clear: the Delta variant is in our communities, and it is more contagious,” said Governor Brown. “My priority is to ensure our kids are able to safely return to full-time, in-person learning this fall, five days per week and with minimal disruptions. With many children still ineligible to be vaccinated, masks are an effective way to help keep our kids safe in the classroom, the learning environment we know serves them best.”

Some school districts were pushing back. Culver Schools Superintendent Stefanie Garber wrote a letter to parents asserting that “children are medically, physically, and psychologically harmed by mask mandates.”

She wrote, “I will not tolerate any mandate that risks the safety, learning, or social development of our students. Our district will do whatever it takes to retain the stance of local decision-making and have masks be optional, honoring each family’s wishes for their own student.”

Sisters Schools Superintendent Curt Scholl was out of town and unavailable for comment at press time.

Don Hedrick, recently named Sisters School Board chair, told The Nugget, “Of course, everyone wishes we didn’t have to wear masks, but the school board and the superintendent’s responsibility is to keep the students and staff safe. I don’t know if other orders or directives will be coming down from the State Board of Education, the governor, or Oregon Health Authority. We continue to operate in the midst of a moving target.”


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